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Restaurant Review | Light lunch at Grand Rapids wine bar Reserve

While businessmen clad in smart suits sipped iced tea and speared bountiful salads, I was unabashedly drinking a flight of fruity rosé wines during the lunch hour at Reserve Wine & Food. That’s one of the best perks of being a travel writer — eating and drinking is my work.

So, last Monday I met my friend, Lindsay, for lunch in downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. Our previous lunch date was spent chatting over deli sandwiches at Grand Central Market, so we set off for a new dining experience. While Lindsay had dined at Reserve, it was my first visit — but it won’t be my last.

It was a beautiful day — though too hot and sunny for alfresco dining without shade. We opted to sit on the upstairs patio, sandwiched between buildings that thankfully blocked direct sunlight for a comfortably shaded nook.

Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich.  (Photo by Erin Klema)

Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

With its modern patio furniture, chic details and view of the Amway Grand’s beautifully detailed architecture, Reserve’s patio easily became one of my favorite spots in Grand Rapids.

Patio at Reserve in Grand Rapids (Photo by Erin Klema)

Patio at Reserve in Grand Rapids (Photo by Erin Klema)

Once we were settled into our rooftop table, I perused the extensive wine list. Featuring vino from Northern Michigan to far off wine regions overseas, there is certainly a wine here for any wine drinker — those tasting their first sips to full-fledged oenophiles. There are also a number of flights, if you’d prefer to taste test three wines. This is a great way to discover which flavors you prefer — even within your varietal of choice.

The rose flight at Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

The rose flight at Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

One of the many details I loved at Reserve was the cheeky names  — like Call Me A Cab — given to each wine flight. I ordered It’s A Rosé World, which featured two wines from California (Napa Valley and the Russian River Valley) and one from France. It was interesting to compare the three and notice the vast differences among the trio.

You’ll notice in the above photo that each wine is marked by a card. The French rosé I tasted is a new addition to Reserve’s wine offerings, so it didn’t have a card yet. I’ve since forgotten the name, and, of course, it was my favorite of the three I tasted.

Strawberry gazpacho and It's A Rose World wine flight at Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Strawberry gazpacho and It’s A Rose World wine flight at Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

For a light lunch, I ordered the strawberry gazpacho. The chilled soup is drizzled with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and garnished with mint leaves and bacon. If you like strawberry smoothies (as I do), you might like the similar flavor and texture of this strawberry gazpacho. It’s really refreshing — a sweet-and-cool start to a summer meal.

Strawberry gazpacho at Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Strawberry gazpacho at Reserve in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Photo by Erin Klema)

Each dish I saw during my lunch was beautifully plated. I really appreciate the attention to aesthetic details of the plating, the decor and even the utensils at Reserve.

I’d love to visit Reserve again for dinner and for late night wine and cheese. Given the romantic vibe, I could easily imagine sitting on the cozy patio, looking up at the stars, sharing a cheese plate as wine and conversation flow. If you’re looking for a destination for your next date night in Grand Rapids, this is it.

Know before you go …

Location: 201 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Lunch Menu: Shareable snacks, salads, soups, sandwiches and more

Drink List: Cocktails, beers and wines by the glass, bottle and flight

Prices: $9-18 sandwiches/lunch entrees; $6-11 soups/salads; $5-8 snacks

Reserve on Urbanspoon

Wish you were here,

Erin

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love the way this is written! This sounds like such a fun outing!!

    July 20, 2014
    • It certainly was a fun dining experience. I can’t wait to wine and dine at Reserve again!

      July 20, 2014
  2. Ooh the next time I make my way to Kalamazoo, I might have to pass through Grand Rapids! The Wine Bar Scene has really picked up in Michigan :)
    http://www.tessoras.com

    September 15, 2014

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