Wednesday night I had dinner with two friends at Butch's Drydock in Holland, MI, a place I've been wanting to check out since hearing about it on Michigan's public radio station and seeing their website (http://www.butchs.net/). Butch's advertises Deli by day, dining by night, and though we did not get to check out the deli (which closes at 4pm) they did have a good retail selection of beer and wine. (I'm no wine geek, so I cannot appraise the quality of their selection, but in size it matched most retail wine shops. The website calls the wine selection a labor of love.) The restaurant has a nice open contemporary feel, and tables are not too close together. For some reason I expected a deli by day, dining by night place to be small and cramped, but it was not that way at all.
Overall it was a good dinner, and if I lived nearby I would probably be a regular at Butch's. Our food was prepared and presented well (though not spectacular or unusual) and the dishes we had seemed to me to be pretty standard versions of their respective centerpiece proteins, with the exception of a good sauce served with the salmon (see below).
Here is what we tried:
The soup of the day was a cream soup with beef tips, which was very thick, very good, very peppery, had a lot of good tender beef, and was maybe a little mushroomy (though I don't think there were actual mushrooms in it maybe in the stock?). They had a good caesar salad, and the dressing was very flavorful and tasted like it probably included the anchovies.
I had a Strip Steak Diana, served with a roasted Vidalia onion puree, sherry and Dijon mustard sauce, but which to me tasted like a standard red wine reduction brown sauce hit with some black pepper. It was very good, but the sauce was not as unique as I thought it might be from the description. The steak was grilled perfectly as I ordered it, between medium-rare and medium.
Another dish, the Spice Rubbed Salmon Filet, was a nice fresh piece of salmon, maybe a tiny bit overcooked (but by no means dry), with a spice rub that tasted mostly like pepper. (Peppery might be the best single word to describe the dishes we tried. From where I stand, this is a good thing.) It had a good and unusual sauce, described as maple orange barbeque buerre blanc, but thicker than I would expect a buerre blanc to be.
Both the steak and salmon came with bacon and apple whipped Yukon gold potatoes, but the main flavor in the potatoes seemed to be something like anise or fennel. It was a surprising taste that took a few bites to get accustomed to.
Pan Seared Duck Breast with Michigan cherry wine barbeque sauce was cooked nicely, still very pink in the middle third, sliced about 3/8 inch thick.
Butch's menu lists wine suggestions with each dish, but I'm not competent to evaluate them.
This is not eye-opening revolutionary food, but if you're looking for good food in a very nice place with good friendly service, go to Butch's.