Hotel district serves up some surprises

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Ora king salmon, asparagus, wakame-ikura emulsion at Bubbles and Beats with Veuve Cliquot, a monthly four-course intimate dining experience in the Amway Grand Plaza’s chef’s kitchen. Photo by M. Buck Studios.

Always on the forefront of the Grand Rapids food and beverage scene, AHC Hospitality has announced a number of new offerings, from summer fare and retro cocktail carts, to an exclusive new nightclub with a “surprise” address.

A secret summer soiree is set to take place somewhere in the hotel district Friday, June 23, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m at The Vault, location TBA!

“For the ultimate air of intrigue, guests with pre-purchased tickets won’t be informed of the club’s venue until the day of,” said a spokesperson for the company.

If the hush-hush location isn’t beguiling enough, The Vault also boasts “Vegas-style grandeur” and promises an unforgettable experience that “transports guests to a world of lush velvet, sparkling chandeliers and electric beats.”

Live entertainment from DJ Slim Tim is accented by top-shelf craft cocktails, wine and beer. General admission is a $35 cover charge, or a VIP experience priced at $750 (includes reserved seating for eight, two bottles of Moët, a bottle of Belvedere, valet parking and a personal cocktail server). Buy tickets to the exclusive event here

Menu Makeovers:
The chic French bistro, Margaux, another one of the hotel district’s crown jewels located in the JW Marriott has launched a new summer menu. The completely revamped list of offerings includes Lake Superior Whitefish and Gnocchi Parisienne. The whitefish is served with ragoût of spring vegetables, braised fennel and sauce beurre blanc. The gnocchi is accompanied by  local mushrooms, crème fraîche, crispy basil and brioche crumble.

Strawberry Covered Chocolate Trio of Atucún chocolate, chocolate mousse cake, cremeux, sponge, and passion fruit strawberry cloud, available exclusively at Bubbles and Beats. Photo by M. Buck Studios.

For dessert, the restaurant’s expert chefs have crafted a partnership with local artisan chocolatier Atucún to create, among other chocolatey fare, a Chocolate Passion Délice. The delicacy is prepared with Atucún’s passion fruit chocolate, passion fruit caviar, chocolate sable crumble, house-made vanilla gelato, and passion fruit crême. Also on offer is a delicious show-stopping strawberry-covered chocolate dessert, only available at an exclusive dining experience, Bubbles and Beats with Veuve Cliquot, a monthly four-course intimate dining experience in the Amway Grand Plaza’s chef’s kitchen, with tickets available for $250 at this link. Read more about Bubbles and Beats here.

If you’re looking to dine al fresco, look no further Jdek, Margaux’s dining patio along the Grand River, has opened its summer outdoor seating and revamped menu, perfect for soaking up the precious summer weather. The Emperor’s New Groove is a refreshing new cocktail that marries a tropical mix of Barsol Pisco with Thai basil, lemon, crème de coconut and simple syrup.

A mouth-watering wagyu burger is now available at The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. It all starts with Michigan-grown Orchard Hill Farms wagyu, and is accompanied by bacon aioli, onion marmalade, aged white cheddar and what else?  Fries, of course.  

Retro Cocktails & Mocktails Galore:
At the Amway Grand Plaza, the historic Lumber Baron Bar has launched a retro cocktail cart experience offering a front row seat to the art of mixology to be enjoyed tableside. Highlights include the decadent Million Dollar Martini (Nolet’s Reserve Gin, extra dry Vermouth, Lillet, and caviar) and the Gold Leaf Margarita, featuring Louis XIII Cognac, Grand Marnier 100yr, Don Julio Rosado, agave, lime and gold leaf. 

If you want a refreshing sip with a kick, but not the grogginess and headache that follows, two of the hotel district’s top establishments have you covered. The Lumber Baron Bar and MDRD have both joined the mocktail movement. Inspired by a dedicated nonalcoholic spirits shop in downtown Grand Rapids and the sobriety revolution, the Amway Grand Plaza has introduced a new mocktail menu incorporating some of the top nonalcoholic spirits in the industry, including Seedlip, Amethyst and Kentucky 74. The Merry Lavender is a floral beverage made with butterfly pea flower tea, lavender honey, lemon, and club soda. Tonic y Que? prepared with amethyst cucumber-serrano tonic, honeydew granita, pink peppercorn, and fresh mint.

Look for reviews of one of these mocktails and more from MDRD in the upcoming July issue of Grand Rapids Magazine when Pat Evans shares his elevated experience at this restaurant that serves lavish Spanish cuisine. 

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