A few weeks ago, J suggested I ask my parents if they wanted to meet in New Buffalo for Easter. J’s mom has been staying with us for a couple weeks and we needed to get her back to Chicago anyway. J thought it would be a great idea if my parents, my aunt, and her step-dad meet us in New Buffalo for an Easter Brunch.
Since there was going to be seven of us and a baby, we thought we should probably try to make reservations. I checked a few places that I wanted to eat at but found out they weren’t open. Somehow, I stumbled upon the Marina Grand Resort which has a pretty nice looking restaurant. Even better, they take reservations via OpenTable.
I made the reservation for the Bentwood Tavern for noon on Easter Sunday. The Tavern is just off the main lobby of the resort past the front desk. They claim to be New Buffalo’s only waterfront dining. It’s a claim that is probably true, but the water is just that of the marina so your view is yachts you wish you could afford and not Lake Michigan. Still, on a nice day, they have a really nice patio and it would be nice to sit outside and enjoy a beer.
The restaurant bills itself as artisan comfort food and the decor of the place matches. It’s an open concept with table seating that gives you a few of the brick oven and the chef’s who make everything from scratch.
Our table was waiting for us when we walked in right at noon. I made sure to not on the reservation that there were seven adults and we would have a three month old baby with us hoping they would give a space for her. The table they showed us to was right next to the kitchen. It was a long table with one end pushed up against a dividing wall. There were three chairs on either side and one at the head of the table. They did bring us a high chair to flip over for the car seat, but there really wasn’t anywhere to put it. We had to put it in between us which pushed J’s mom down to the corner of the table. On the one hand, they were very accommodating and didn’t seem to mind the baby as many of the waitresses would stop by just to play with her, but I did make sure to point out there would be a little one on the reservation so a space for her would have been nice. Still, we made do and it didn’t really affect our brunch.
I was very excited by the menu as was J. Everyone at the table seemed to be except my dad which really isn’t much of a surprise. Places like this are a little out of his comfort zone, but he was able to eventually find something suitable.
One of the things that really excited me was the craft beer list. They had a beer on tap that I was really itching to try. J stuck to an Oberon, but J’s mom and I both got the Anger Black IPA from Greenbush Brewing in nearby Sawyer. The beer pours a deep black with a super spicy aroma. I was a little surprised to see my Mother In Law pick this one as she seems to stick to lighter ales, but she drank the whole glass. I was pretty impressed with my first beer from Greenbush and would really like to make it to their taproom sometime.
The rest of the table stuck to either water, Iced tea, or Coke.
I had a hard time again deciding between pizza or a burger. I always go with the burger even though the pizza usually tempts me. My order was the Smoke Vermont Burger. The sandwich is a 1/2 pound all-natural angus beef burger topped with aged white cheddar and applewood smoked bacon served on a toasted bun. The burger was outstanding. It was slightly pink in the middle and very juicy. The aged cheddar had a bit of a smokey flavor that paired with the smokey bacon. The sandwich came with crispy shoe string french fries that were almost addicting. I ate the whole plate before I even touched my burger.
My dad, aunt, and J’s dad all also ordered the burger and I didn’t hear any complaints from anyone.
J and her mom both ordered the Grilled Chicken Sandwich. The natural chicken breast comes with sundried tomato pesto, arugula, roasted red peppers, and fontina cheese on Ciabatta bread. Both J and her mom loved the sandwich. J likes almost anything on Ciabatta anyway, but she said this sandwich was so much more than she expected. The ingredients were piled high between the bread and everything had a fresh taste to it. Their sandwiches came with a small mixed greens salad which J said was fine, but she wishes she would have asked for fries. Her dad shared with her and she thought the fries were delicious.
My mom surprised everyone again and ordered the Thai Chicken Wrap. The spinach tortilla is filled with grilled chicken, cabbage, and rice. It comes with a spicy thai dipping sauce and a cucumber salad. The surprising thing to me is that my mom doesn’t like spinach. My stomach kind of dropped when it came out, but she told me later she knew what she was ordering and actually ended up really liking it.
The bill for the seven of us was just over $100. Everyone (except my dad, but that doesn’t mean anything) commented on much they liked the place as we walked out. The food was incredible and there’s so much more than we all wanted to try. J’s mom is even trying to convince her husband to stay a couple nights at the resort sometime. They liked it that much.
Hopefully we can fit The Bentwood Tavern in to your New Buffalo lunch rotation. It’s one of those quaint little places that is worth the drive.