Midwest Living Review
Don't let the weathered wood exterior and laid-back patio outside Chandler's deceive you. This is one of the finest restaurants in northern Michigan. Tucked behind Symons General Store, an excellent gourmet food and wine shop run by the same family, Chandler's serves sophisticated, creative dishes with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients and a hint of Asian influence. (The starter menu includes sushi, for example.) A typical early-summer entree pairs fresh salmon with an herby saute of bok choy and tender potatoes. Creative vegan options are a specialty here; a June offering of beet risotto topped with microgreens put the typical, token veggie choices at similarly upscale restaurants to shame. For a less fancy choice, the grilled four-cheese sandwich is a perennial fave. Our only real disappointment was dessert. Creme brulee was good, but nothing revolutionary, and a deconstructed Snickers bar with ice cream, candied peanuts and house-made nougat, was more silly than satisfying. No doubt, the energy here goes into the savory fare, and that's fine by us. (Save a few calories!) The atmosphere at Chandler's might surprise some visitors expecting a classic fine-dining experience when they're dropping $100-plus for a meal for two. The patio has nothing-fancy wrought-iron tables that wobble a bit on the bricks, and the interior, which is low-lit and cozy, has a publike vibe. But there's no mistaking the excellent service and beautiful, delicious food. This one's worth the splurge.