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Bravo! Restaurant & Cafe

August 22, 2011

  • 5402 Portage Road
  • Portage, MI 49002
  • (269) 344-7700
  • Website
  • Menu

Even with a four day weekend, today was pretty much the only day J and I had off together that we could get things done.  I slept in waaaaaay late after an exhausting weekend with my parents.  J actually texted me from work, but I just ignored it.  I thought it was someone else, but it wasn’t.  When she got home, she asked why I was still in bed and why I didn’t answer her text.  Had I actually picked up my phone, I would have seen she wanted to go to lunch.

When she texts from work that she’s hungry, it usually means have a place picked out and be dressed when she gets home.  I did neither today.  I stumbled to the computer to try and think.  I was just going to go with a safe standby when I opened up my e-mail and found an e-mail from Bravo! about an upcoming event.

In the two years we’ve lived here, we’ve never been to Bravo!  J actually ate there her very first time in Southwest Michigan.  She was being interviewed for her previous job and they flew her to AZO.  The prospective employer took her right across the street for lunch.

The restaurant jumped back on my radar last week.  I don’t drive down Portage Road very often, but I needed to take my iPod to Rapid Repair.  Someone (ie: me) got the stupid idea to try and pop the screen off to fix a wi-fi problem….now the screen doesn’t work.  Rapid Repair is right behind Bravo! and that gave me the idea that I should look at the lunch menu.

Bravo! Restaurant & Cafe is on Portage Road right across from the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.  It’s kind of a fancy stand alone building.  We were talking during lunch that it kind of seems out of place in the area which is mostly fast food, sports bars, and family restaurant, but if you think about it, it makes sense.  It’s a great place to take clients that fly in to town.

The hostess took us to the back dining room which also leads out to the patio.  We had our choice of seats for our 1:30 and we opted for a booth.  The decor is kind of what you expect for an Italian restaurant.  There are a lot of dark colors and bricks .  The booth we sat in has a high back for privacy and wood beams stretching to the ceiling.

The lunch menu at Bravo! is more than typical Italian.  They have a number of delicious pasta dishes, but there are also a number of salads, sandwiches, and pizzas which are cooked in a wood-burning oven.

Let’s see.  I wonder what I ordered.  Like most lunch excursions, there are always a number of things I would like to try.  I wanted the lasagna.  I wanted a pizza.  I wanted a burger.  I got the burger….but, in my defense, it wasn’t just any burger.  It’s a Kobe-Style Waygu Beef Burger.  No matter where we’re eating, I rarely pass up a Kobe or Waygu burger.  This burger is served on a Brioche Roll with capicola ham, portabella mushrooms, Provolone and roasted garlic mayo.  I decided to give the mushrooms a try, but I just couldn’t bring myself to try the mayo.  I hate mayo so much that even when you flavor it, all I taste is that disgusting tangy white stuff.  I asked the server to leave it off.

The burger came out just how I like it.  A little pink in the middle and still very juicy.  The sandwich is layered with the provolone wrapped around the top and sides of the meat then the ham is put on the same way.  The mushroom was sliced into three strips and sauteed then set on top.  I tried one bite with the mushrooms, but since I don’t really like them either, I took them off.  I had to give a try though.  I feel really bad when I start altering what the chef has created.  There’s a reason they put those flavors together.

After I got the burger down to what I like most, beef, cheese, and pork, I felt like I was in heaven.  I love the taste and juiciness of the Waygu beef and don’t mind paying a little extra for it now and then.  The cheese and the capicola added a hint of saltiness that countered the subtle sweetness of the Waygu.

The sandwich came with choice of sides and I took the french fries.  They were delicious crispy and lightly salted.  By the time I cleared my plate, I was stuffed and very happy with what I just put in my belly.

J also went with a sandwich.  Last time she ate at Bravo! she ordered a salad and really liked it, but the Slow Roasted Michigan Turkey Sandwich was calling her name today.  The focaccia bread is topped with slow roasted, warm turkey breast, smoked bacon, provolone cheese, a fig and balsamic dressing, apples and mixed greens.  When she ordered, she had no idea this was an open face sandwich, but once she saw it, the knife and fork approach made sense.  The turkey on this sandwich was so tender and so moist.  She said it just melted in her mouth.  I was lucky enough to get a small bite and I’d have to agree.  If it wasn’t for the turkey, the bacon would have been her favorite part of this sandwich.  It was very crispy and had a great smokey flavor to it.  The fig and balsamic dressing kind of hung around in the background, but creeped up just enough to let you know it was there.  J’s sandwich also came with choice of sides and she also chose the french fries.  She second guessed herself after the waitress left for not getting the sweet potato chips, but I think she was happy with what she got after the plates were delivered.

The bill with a Coke and an Iced Tea came to just under $30.  Normally, I’d say that’s more than I like to spend on lunch, but I knew it was going to be a pricey lunch before we ever left home.  There is still A LOT I want to try on Bravo’s menu including their craft beers.  I really considered having a beer for lunch, but we had some baby registering to do afterwards.

I’ll be back.  I’ll definitely be back.  Bravo! is one of the great Kalamazoo restaurants.  I really like that they do more than just classic Italian.  There’s something for everyone and that something is done really well.

Kobe Style Waygu Beef Burger w/French Fries

Slow Roasted Michigan Turkey Sandwich w/French Fries

Bravo! restaurant & cafe on Urbanspoon

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Helldog permalink
    August 22, 2011 11:52 pm

    Apparently I missed something over the last few months, or else I was drunk and forgot about it. Not you ordering a burger AGAIN, but the baby registry part. Congrats if I hadn’t mentioned it before. I’d be more than honored if you had a boy and decided to name him Helldog.

    • SW Michigan Dining permalink*
      August 23, 2011 12:00 am

      I think I’ve only mentioned it once or twice….didn’t really make a big announcement…just kind of slipped it in to a few posts and see if anyone notices 🙂

      Thanks! We just found out it’s a girl….not sure if the wife would be ok with Helldog for a girl…

  2. Lacie Jane permalink
    August 28, 2011 7:40 pm

    I think I missed it on the blog too Helldog! I noticed it while watching J on the news and was waiting for a comment here. Congrats!!!!! 🙂

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