At Shepherd’s Fireside Grille, a meal begins with an “amuse-bouche” (to entertain or amuse the mouth), a French phrase for a small complimentary appetizer.
The amusement doesn’t stop there.
“For me, most of the fun is cooking on the line and coming up with the menu,” says Bill Walz, the chef at Fireside Grille. His biggest delight is creating signature International Nights on Thursdays.
Few parts of the world go uncovered by Walz’s yen for inspiration on International Night, a different prix fixe four-course culinary journey every week for $26. A recent Australia dinner featured seafood bisque, followed by a tomato and goat cheese tart with chickpea and beet salad, a main course of veal tenderloin with mushroom compote and root vegetable purée, and a berry trifle dessert.
Other memorable, global-inspired menus have taken diners to Cyprus, Venezuela, Belgium, and Transylvania. Though the menu at Fireside Grille often changes, the key to a consistently good meal is to “buy quality ingredients and not complicate it,” says Walz, who incorporates fresh produce from local farms when possible.
Guests have the option of ordering off the restaurant’s regular menu as well, which includes fish, chicken, pasta, and steak, post-golf fare such as burgers, and a full bar. One specialty is fresh Michigan walleye encrusted with potatoes, onions, and herbs, and finished with corn tartar sauce for $18. All entrées are served with a house salad and warm bread.
The restaurant also offers unlimited soup, salad, and bread on Tuesday nights for $10.99, a prix fixe menu on Wednesdays, and a variety of wine tasting events throughout the year.
Located a bit off the beaten path on a side road just off of U.S. 127, Fireside Grille provides diners with a view of Maple Creek Golf Course. In warm months, guests can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine along with their meal. In cooler months, the soft-toned dining room, accented with polished stone and a cozy fireplace in the bar area, is a great place for a date night.
Foodies, of course, are welcome anytime.
Fireside Grille, 8400 S Genuine Rd, Shepherd, 989-828-6315, www.maplecreekgolf-shepherd.com. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (5 – 9 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Hours vary based on season. Reservations recommended.