By Cindy Hudson
It seems fitting that following the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways conference in Grand Rapids, I would opt for a special seafood lunch.
I treated my brother to lunch and we ended up at Charley’s Crab restaurant in downtown Grand Rapids overlooking the river. The concierge at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel had suggested the venue and it did not disappoint. And while the inside of the restaurant looked elegant, we chose to sit outside on the slightly more rustic patio.
Now, you may be wondering what a crab-centric restaurant is doing on a blog called Freshwater Feasts. It’s true that the menu is dominated by distinctly salty species. But a peek at the dinner offerings reveals two Great Lakes favorites — perch and whitefish — as some of the more wallet-friendly seafood options available in several mouth-watering preparations.
For lunch, we each started our celebration with a delicious blood orange bourbon sour as we enjoyed the beautiful day and river view. It was a lovely way to relax after a packed week of conference sessions.
I chose the strawberry and arugula salad with goat cheese as my starter and it was scrumptious. My brother wholeheartedly enjoyed his bowl of Mediterranean-style Charley’s Chowder.
His coconut shrimp main dish was seasoned with mango salsa and sweet Thai chili butter and included sides of coconut ginger rice and fresh vegetables. He declared it delicious. My spring salmon was one of the Chef’s Table seasonal menu items and was described as including mushrooms, threaded carrots and celery root, summer squash, and carrot beurre blanc. My dish looked exactly like the picture below! And the taste was as good as it looks. To top off our meals perfectly, we shared a vanilla bean crème brûlée dessert.
While I had never been to Charley’s Crab before, I hope to visit again. Maybe next time my brother will pick up the tab!
If you go:
63 Market Avenue SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
If you try their Great Lakes seafood offerings, snap a photo and let us know what you think!