201 Monroe Ave. NW
Grand Rapids Michigan 49503United States
Quality is the buzzword at this downtown wine bar offering over 100 wines by the glass, artisanal cheeses and locally sourced small plates.
Within easy walking distance of the VanAndel Arena and DeVos Performance Hall, Reserve Wine Bar is a convenient stop for pre- and post-event dining in downtown Grand Rapids. A hip, artistic decor greeted us when we visited Reserve: a dining room decorated mostly in black and white with a few bright splashes of color, interesting flower-shape wooden ceiling fixtures and the stunning painting by Ran Ortner, "Open Water No. 24," winner of the 2009 ArtPrize competition, hanging over the bar. A long, central, high table sits in the middle of the dining room, the perfect place to meet friends or strike up a conversation with a stranger, while along the room's edges traditional dinner tables allow more privacy. Reserve's wine menu features at least 100 wines by the glass (and more by the bottle). The emphasis is on quality, not popularity, so don't be surprised if you don't recognize the vintages. We saw some rare, pricey wines sold at upwards of $40/glass, but most wines cost between $8-10. There are even a few bargains at $5/glass. Make your own two-ounce wine flights, or let Reserve suggest some good pairings. And while Reserve emphasizes good wine, you'll find some good food here, too. Check out the interesting cheese and charcuterie menus, then mix and match: $7/a la carte, $15/3 selections or $26 for 5. Cheeses range from locally made chevre to aged French Gruyere and Stilton; meats include Italian prosciutto and house-made pate. Reserve bills its entrees as small plates meant for sharing, but we found them large enough to be satisfying, especially since we had already snacked on several cheeses. We loved the spinach and poached egg risotto. Other options include cider-braised pork belly, a smoked fish trio and a vegetarian chevre agnolotti, small raviolis stuffed with chevre and served with veggies and a garlic broth. Entree prices cost $8-15.