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Palette Pleasures: Grand Rapids Restaurant Week | Arts & Culture

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Palette Pleasures: Grand Rapids Restaurant Week
Palette Pleasures: Grand Rapids Restaurant Week

By Tommy Allen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- Some folks are willing to plop down fat bags of cash for airfare, accommodations, and taxis just to indulge in the one meal believed to be the authentic cuisine of a far-off culture.

Luckily for us (including those without such lavish means), and by way of our ever-flattening world, Grand Rapids' food landscape is constantly evolving and highlighted each year at Restaurant Week.

This year there is a new trend emerging, besides the push to include more fresh ingredients from our region: the presence of ethnic restaurants in this annual event.   

No longer is this foodie exploration just for the connected. When Restaurant Week returns for its fourth year, it is really looking to shake things up as our local ethnic restaurants are not just jumping in, but are providing a melting pot experience without breaking the bank. This is the perfect time to venture off the your well-worn dietary path.

While lots of places will be tripping over themselves to ensure the best farm-to-table experience (a term I think is well past even shark jumping at this point), Experience Grand Rapids' event site reveals the delicious simplicity these ethnic entries are offering this year.  

Surveying the list, I discovered three places serving something worthy of your considerations. This is, of course, by no means an exhaustive sampling of what is happening over August 14 - 24.

One restaurant participating for the very first time is Michigan's only semi-fine dining Turkish restaurant, Zeytin, located in Ada.

Owner Ufuk Turan says his establishment has been attracting people from all over the region. And while Turan finds a lot of his guests are familiar with items like hummus, tabouli, and baba ganoush, he really wants people to be adventurous during Restaurant Week. Lesser known but no less tasty dishes include Zeytin's freshly chopped eggplant salsa or its feta borek -- a pastry dish much like an Asian spring roll, but made with cheese and layers of filo dough, rich in a buttery flavor with a recipe reaching back to the Ottoman Empire.

For more on this story, visit the Rapid Growth website here.