–Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids is becoming the place to be and catching up with the times. With the opening of the JW Marriott in late September, downtown has become a hip place for the professional, technology-savvy generation. Is the restaurant it houses,, as hip and vibrant as the interior of the JW?, the JW’s only restaurant, named for the area code of the city it is in, was meant to combine fresh local ingredients with dishes from Grand Rapids’ sister cities.

The menu was full of a variety of dishes that seemed simple yet unique combining with the interesting ingredients.

I started with the crab sushi with very fresh crab, not imitation crab, a hard thing to find these days. Priced at $16 for eight large pieces, the crab sushi is worth the trip back.

The main course was rather forgetable. I had the Hawaiian ono with a tangy sauce accompanied by black beans. When I asked the waiter what ono was, he simply said, “fish” and I had to roll my eyes and ask for clarification.

Ono is like swordfish. I have never had swordfish, but I have had tuna and shark. I think ono would be in between the dryness and meaty taste of tuna (and I’m not talking prepackaged canned) and shark. The grilled ono was seared to a crisp on the outside leaving the nice flakiness center a pleasant surprise and treat once my fork managed to penetrate the hard crust.

The wait staff was friendly. However, due to the noise, ordering was a task in itself. I asked for a Sprite and instead I got tonic water. Of course there was plenty of water on the menu–three kinds–sparkling, tap, and specially imported water from outside of the US. It was an easy mistake to give me water with bubbles instead of Sierra Mist which they carry instead of Sprite.

This meal was like a story; you remember the beginning and the end, but you forget the middle.

I had the chocolate lava cake and it’s worth the 12 minute wait to get this glorious work of art. It was a sheer delight to watch the warm chocolate flow out of the chocolate bundt-like cake. The chocolate was thick enough to ooze out slowly and with pizazz like a diva making an entrance but thin enough to go down smoothly. It was the bookend to a decent meal.

Considering price, atmosphere, and food, I give the three and a half sporks.


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Filed under food, restaurant, reviews

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