Taste This! McKay's Downtown

McKay's Downtown

If you've recently watched Pulp Fiction, take your friend/date/Tarantinophile to McKay's Downtown for the Grandwich-winning Royale With (Bleu) Cheese for a definitive chuckle and conversation. If you expect an actual burger by normal definitions, you'll be surprised by its brioche bun stuffed, quarter-pound grass-fed ground ham and beef, candied bacon, pickled slaw, bleu cheese ice cream and chocolate balsamic reduction. I would surely defeat all of my combatants in a deathpit if there was only one such sandwich in the world.

That, however, is not the only gem on the menu that Owner and Head Chef Michael McKay Santo (who recently helped establish 57 Bistro & Pub in Greenville) has devised, and may leave you head-scratching and asking for another minute to order. One may even read the entrees aloud as Jerry Lewis (tip: don't). Regardless of what some may consider a faux pas, every offering is certainly mouthwatering. Small plates such as Picnic Oeuf (lamb, goat, pickled onion and a hardboiled egg in a Bloody Mary sauce) and Screwy Rabbit (smoke rabbit, baby lettuce, carrot, dash of irony) will help dip the tips of the tongues for those unsure of French Fusion. Of course, you could always just nibble on a pickled hog foot if you're looking for a small bite late at night for a well-spent $5.

Large plate offerings include a lamb t-bone and a collard green ratatouille, but the nod goes to the [Your Name Here] Cassoulet and [Your Name Here] Etouffee. Both include any choice meat—rabbit, lamb belly, pork belly or duck—with mirepoix. The cassoulet hosts mixed bean and roasted redskin potatoes; the etouffee, smoked tomato bisque and sweet potato hash. For those that refuse to eat food based upon not knowing the language, mirepoix is composed of chopped onions, celery and other veggies. Future plans include an outdoor dining patio and enough staying power to forget that every former bar restaurant at their particular location has disappeared without a trace. 25 Ottawa Ave. SW, Grand Rapids; michaelmckays.com, (616) 419-4493

Oct. 10: 7th Annual Wine, Women & Chocolate
Help support your blood glucose and the Women's Resource Center with healthy samplings of various wines and chocolates provided by Crushed Grape Winery, Cascade Winery, Patricia's Chocolates and Awesome Chocolates, with catering provided by Thousand Oaks Golf Club. WRC performs a wondrous service to our community by helping women resume their lives with the skills and confidence required to support their families and secure employment. All proceeds will benefit these women and the WRC's outreach as they provice these immeasurable services at no cost. The least you can do is eat some chocolates and cop a wine buzz. $40/Thousand Oaks Golf Club, 4100 Thousand Oaks Dr., Grand Rapids; Contact Terri Demeter at WRS for more information at (616) 458-5443

Oct. 30: Dinner in the Dark at San Chez Bistro
Prime your palette with a wealth of flavor before over-indulging in your neighbors' "Please Take Just One" candy baskets. San Chez follows up with their second Dinner in the Dark, an experience which proves we should take our time and enjoy the more subtle pleasures in life. Blindfolds will be provided at this unique dining event that heightens smell, taste and touch of San Chez's top-tier table fare, paired with wine, beer and live music. The scents will certainly tantalize you into Pavlovian drooling and the textures are as exquisite as their tastes. Don't fret if you miss this as another is planned for Thursday, November 21. $65 (includes tax & gratutiy); 38 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids; sanchezbistro.com, (616)774-8272