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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Tuesday Review: SpeakEZ Lounge

Tenderloin Elinor
By Steve Siciliano

Barb and I had been to the SpeakEZ Lounge a few times since it opened last February at its Monroe Avenue location, a space formerly occupied by the Cambridge House. While we had always gone solely for the solid list of draught craft beer offerings, a perusal of the menu during a recent visit convinced us that someday we would have to try the food. Last Saturday evening we did.

While owner Eric Albertson has retained much of the minimalist feel and understated décor of the Cambridge House—the high top tables, booths, and wooden bar; the soft lighting and exposed brick walls and ceiling—he has succeeded in elevating the quality and variety of the food. The SpeakEZ offers nine interesting appetizers ($7.00 - $11.00) and a small but eclectic list of seven entrees ranging from $9.00 to $18.00. The menu also includes eight sandwiches ($8.00 - $14.00) in addition to soups, salads, sides and desserts.

Escargot Normandy
For our starter we chose the Escargot Normandy. The snails were accompanied by crimini, button and portabella mushrooms, seared shallots and a rosemary crepe in a brandy cream sauce. For her entrée, Barb opted for the Tenderloin Elinor—seared medallions of beef tenderloin in a mushroom, shallot and brandy butter reduction with grilled asparagus and roasted Yukon potatoes. I chose the Year of the Dragon—garlic and sesame infused pork tenderloin with sugar snap peas and a sesame red pepper pasta salad topped with pork cracklings. The appetizer and both entrées were excellent and a bottle of Shannon Ridge Wrangler Red ($26.00) went nicely with the meal.

In addition to a lineup of ten draught craft beers the SpeakEZ also offers a good selection of 12oz bottles as well as a handful of 750mls. Wine lovers should also be pleased with the small but well priced and, in terms of how they pair with the food, well thought out wine list.

The SpeakEZ Lounge is at 600 Monroe Ave. NW
 in Grand Rapids, MI.

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