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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Wish you were here,