Restaurant Review: Vintage Chophouse
With arguable the best view of any restaurant in the Petoskey/ Bay Harbor area, Vintage Chophouse is also able to safely and deliciously accommodate gluten-free and vegan eaters.
Dining in the Vintage Chophouse inside the Inn at Bay Harbor has been on my to-do list for several months now. I was finally able to try out the restaurant for dinner tonight, prior to the Fourth of July fireworks, and was thrilled with the restaurant, the waitstaff, and especially, my meal.
As previously mentioned, Vintage is right on the water overlooking Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. This provides endless opportunity to take in the gorgeous scenery as you wait for your food. Vintage has a luxury resort-worthy dining room, as well as a spacious outdoor patio, which takes full advantage of the stunning water vistas.
Once my mom and I were seated (at a table right next to the window in the dining room), our waiter Jamison soon came over and inquired if we had any questions about the menu. I, of course, did. Vintage has a Blackened Cauliflower Steak dish on their dinner menu that I was told can be prepared celiac-safe and vegan when I called to make a reservation. So, I asked Jamison if this was indeed possible.
Without hesitation, he replied that is was, but that a few tweaks would have to be made. First, he said the feta cheese crumbles would have to be omitted (obviously), and then the blackening seasoning would have to swamped for a Calgary seasoning. He explained the blackening seasoning contained flour that they could not guarantee was gluten-free, so it was most likely unsafe for me to eat; however, he said the Calgary seasoning did not contain flour and would be a great substitute.
I agreed that sounded great. The dish also came with red quinoa. sauteed kale and onion, and a chimichurri sauce that were fine as is. I also asked for a side salad with just vegetables (something not on their menu) and Jamison said it would be “no problem” to make me one. He also assured me that they would use all separate utensils and pans to prepare my food to prevent against any chance of cross-contamination.
When the meal arrived, the order was slightly messed up. Instead of pairing the cauliflower steak with the quinoa and vegetables, it came on the side of the vegetable salad. Somehow the way Jamison put the order in was not communicated correctly to the chefs. This did not surprise me, as it happens more often than not when I dine out.
Moreover, the salad with cauliflower steak– loaded with the spicy Calgary seasoning– turned out to be a fantastic appetizer anyway. I thoroughly enjoyed eating it while waiting for the correct dish to be made. The best parts were the seasoning, which was reminiscent of a steak seasoning, plus micro-basil placed on the salad that made it into a great flavor combo.
Once my correct dinner arrived, I was equally as pleased with it in terms of its overall flavor. I did ask for more of the seasoning, as the second cauliflower steak was not nearly as loaded with it as the first one. (Most likely because it was “rushed” out.) The quinoa and kale and onion sauté were flavorful enough on there own, and I did like the how the herbaceous chimichurri balanced out the spice of the seasoning.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with how knowledgeable our waiter was of the menu ingredients, and in having such a great, and easily customizable, vegetarian dish on the Vintage’s regular dinner menu. I will certainly return to the chophouse again as long as this dish remains available. Not many restaurants offer a good cauliflower steak option, and it’s one of my favorites, so it certainly makes Vintage a real treat. Plus, you really can’t go wrong with its beautiful water views.