Well, it's no secret that I'm the new guy to town. I moved to the beautiful city of Grand Rapids from Shreveport, Louisiana and it seems I picked the perfect time to do so.

It's Restaurant Week! Being a native of Louisiana, I know a thing or two about seafood, so my choice of where to dine was pretty obvious.

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When I first arrived in Grand Rapids, I passed by this sign and thought to myself, "Hey, a place to get seafood." Now, I haven't been to every single place in town yet, but I will say this - I had some of the best seafood I've ever eaten at this restaurant.

First of all, I'm still living in a hotel so when I called the front desk to ask about what I should wear while eating at Charley's Crab they told me, [basically] Sunday church attire. Full disclosure: my hotel also mentioned to me that if they make the reservations we would get a VIP table ... with a view of the river. Let me say the view did not disappoint.

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Our view was of the wonderful Grand River with the shades pulled so the sun wasn't blinding us. Our waitress, Bethany, was prompt, attentive, professional and personable. My wife (Holly) and I informed Ms. Bethany that we were there to experience the Restaurant Week menu. So we ordered for our first course...

Hors d'oeuvres

Holly had Martha's Vineyard Salad:

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The menu describes the salad as "having fresh Michigan greens, maple-raspberry vinaigrette, red onion, toasted pine nuts & crumbled bleu cheese." I sampled a bit of her salad, and the bite I had I would describe as super fresh with flavor explosions. The first thing that hits you is the Maple-Raspberry vinaigrette that was sweet and tangy, the bleu cheese gave a salad a rich, creamy flavor that was offset by the slightly salty crunch of the pine nuts. The greens gave the salad the freshness that it needed to not feel overly heavy.

I had the Smoked Salmon Cake.

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The menu describes it as a salmon cake served with honey mustard IPA sauce, made with Grand Rapids' own Founders Centennial IPA

The first thing that struck me about my appetizer was just how beautiful it looked. Then I cut into it with a fork, and it was a smoked salmon dream come true. If you've ever had bad smoked salmon before you know how unpleasant it can be. You can't taste the fish for the smoke. Not the case with this Salmon Cake, though. Huge, delicious chunks of salmon, no fillers. Now, about that honey mustard IPA sauce - to be honest, while I was eating it I forgot what was in it. However, you could look and see that it was mustard. I'm not the biggest mustard fan, so I was concerned. My fears went away as I dipped that salty smokey salmon into the honey mustard IPA sauce. Slightly sweet and the perfect complement to the salmon cake.

Main Course

For our next course, Holly had Chicken Francese.

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The menu describes this dish as "Parm crusted chicken topped with Mediterranean caponata; Mashed Potatoes." Full disclosure once again, Holly is a bit of a picky eater so she pushed the Mediterranean Caponata to the side and focused solely on the chicken and mashed potatoes. She described the chicken as "juicy, tasty and the mashed potatoes [were] good, too."

I would have tried hers except I had my hands full with my own plate. I ordered the Market Street Combo.

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The combo comes with Smoked salmon cake and coconut macadamia shrimp accented with honey mustard IPA and Thai Chili butter; sweet yam mashed. I know what you're thinking: "you ordered another salmon cake?!?" Yes, yes I did. No regrets. I've had my share of coconut shrimp and these were some of the best. The shrimp were large, and didn't suffer from the "too much breading" problem some fried shrimp can have. Speaking of the breading, it was super crisp and not overly coconutty (if that makes sense?). It was topped with a mango jalapeno salsa (unless my taste buds are deceived). The Louisiana side of me wanted to pick up the shrimp by the tail and eat it whole. However, the more refined / tastier way was of course cut the shrimp, scoop up a little salsa then fork the shrimp so you get it all in one bite. When my mouth suffered from a bit too much spice. I cooled it down with a bite of the sweet potato mash (sorry I'm too new to the north to call it anything other than a sweet potato).  All in all, it was an amazing plate of food. Seafood lovers, this is a must try.

Dessert

Last, but certainly not least, dessert.

Holly, a native from the Detroit area, of course had the Sander's Hot Fudge Sundae.

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Sanders fudge topped with vanilla ice cream that's then topped with surprise pecans, more ice cream, more fudge, whipped cream, and more pecans. She was in heaven enjoying every last bite.

As I have problems with dairy, I went with the Chocolate Decadence

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What you're looking at is a flourless chocolate cake & dark chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis. Dark Chocolate lovers (like myself, might I add) will LOVE this. The only words I can use to describe it are rich and (for lack of a better word) decadent. Perfect top to our meal.

After dinning, we made the short walk back to our hotel, talking the whole way about how good the food is at Charley's Crab and how we can't wait to go back again.

Want to see what else Charley's Crab has on the menu? Click the Restaurant Week Picture below.

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However, don't *only* eat at Charley's Crab! There are more than 60 restaurants to choose from. Some offer 3 courses, for just $28 per person. Or if you're on a budget, 2 people can dine on 3-courses for $28 (depending on the restaurant, of course).

Restaurant Week Grand Rapids, is now through August 23rd. Check out participating restaurants and their mouthwatering menus at restaurantweekgr.com. And make Your reservation tonight!

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