Food Gems and Other Unexpected Gourmet Finds in Grand Rapids – Part 2

Oh Maru how I love you!

Screen Shot 2014-03-15 at 11.53.10 PMA couple weeks ago my Evil Twin Jacqui and I had a mommy night out, a night to reset and find balance away from the usual set of responsibilities. It started with a card for Valentine’s day, actually. Evil Twin found a card just for me that spoke to my core, my stomach. We realized the last time we saw each other sans kiddos was when she was still the parent of 1 child expecting her baby girl (her darling daughter will be 1 in July…. so if we use both hands and carry the 1 then divide by… yes, it’s been too long.)

It would only seem fair that when we finally agreed on a date and found ourselves on our own, we would need to enjoy some sushi! Cue the trip to Maru. We stepped into the quaint and inviting restaurant, filled to the brim with trendy  folk from all corners of our side of the Mitten. Huddled over in deep conversation while warm infused tea and saki was enjoyed.

One thing I wish I had realized is that Maru, unlike most of the restaurants in town, takes reservations. We were gifted with a 45 minute wait, but having waited for almost a year since this place opened, and 10 months since Evil Twin and I were out and about by ourselves, we chose the path of patience. Not easy when you are up against this team of Onlies. We passed the time window shopping on Cherry and popping into the few places still open. We didn’t last long and decided to stare down people while we waited for our table.

Pleasant surprise #1 – our wait went from 45 minutes to about 20. (Much more tolerable for an Only.)
Pleasant surprise #2 – you can get a drink while you wait (that’s nothing new), but you can also have them fresh brew some steamy fruit-infused tea (we chose one with strawberry, blueberry and a hint of pineapple.) What’s so special about tea? The experience made me feel like I was enjoying the Farmer’s Market. I was breathing in warm air, letting the sun hit my face. Like magic.Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 12.58.43 AM

Pleasant surprise #3 – we were seated right at the bar. We watched the sushi masters construct the most perfect rolls I have ever seen. Some were as colorful and artistic as stained glass. We found a happy place.  I couldn’t help but feel like I was in a scene of The Holiday, sitting in the sushi bar. I would vote for being Kate Winslett but that would leave Jacqui being Jack Black, I don’t think she’d be okay with that.Screen shot 2014-03-09 at 11.25.05 PM

Anyway, we ended up ordering two different rolls, one was called crunchy shrimp and the other was lollipop. They were delicious, we could tell because our conversation disappeared and was replaced with yummy noises. And that’s okay sometimes you just need to appreciate what is right in front of you.

Though I will never be quite trendy enough to fit in with the perfect Maru regulars, I still embraced the whole experience and will make it a point to return. The atmosphere was inviting, yet intimate. The food was fresh and perfectly assembled, the flavors of our rolls were unique and original but familiar and perfectly balanced, just like our mommy night out.

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P.s. No leftovers survived the evening. Which only gives us reason to return.