I’m not one of those people who starts a crazy diet right after the New Year; but, I’ll admit that after all the Holiday parties, I definitely crave some healthier, lighter foods and greens.
I have been dying to get to the area’s newest restaurant, Bird Dog in Mattawan, for some time now and finally made it happen. II was excited to see that they offered fresh, local, and seasonal fare. They were bound to have something that I would enjoy and that would also fit into my cravings of something healthier!
My husband and I arrived at the cute building located downtown Mattawan and were shocked at how busy it was. It’s a super small building, probably only 8-10 tables as well as a long bar. We didn’t have reservations but got lucky because someone else didn’t show up for their reservation.
The tables are tight, sitting pretty close to each other. That being said, it wasn’t loud in the restaurant, so the close proximity wasn’t a problem at all. It felt cozy and very big city almost. The kitchen is right behind the bar, so you see the cooks working away which is both fun and comforting.
As we glanced at the menu, I was immediately drawn to the BUDDHA BOWL. The menu described the dish as a maple vinaigrette, brussel sprouts, herbed farro, and seasoned vegetables. It sounded light and delicious, exactly what I was craving!
I asked our nice server what the “soup of the moment” was for that day and she told me a STEAK STEW. I knew I couldn’t resist that! So, I started with a cup of the stew and then ordered the Buddha Bowl for my entree.
My husband…well he wasn’t feeling the lighter eating so he went with the SLICED FILLET MIGNON. The filet came with a parmesan risotto and a cabernet reduction. At the last minute, he also asked for some CRISPY BRUSSEL SPROUTS for the table to share. He must have wanted some green after all!
The stew was so yummy, especially on a cold winter night! It warmed me right up. It tasted like a nice beef stew, but just a little fresher and yummier than what I make at home. I loved all the color, as my cup was topped with scallions and some pickled onions. Beautiful presentation.
My Buddha Bowl and his Sliced Filet and the Crispy Brussels came out next. All of the dishes were super colorful (which to me is always a sign of fresh food) and super delicious!
The herbed farro was by far the best farro I’ve ever had. The brussels were crispy and a little sweet. There was also some perfectly cooked and divine butternut squash as well as a fresh sliced avocado. The veggies were all amazing. For a meatless meal, it completely filled me up! The maple vinaigrette was just perfect. It had a slight sweetness to it but balanced all the veggies perfectly. All the textures and flavors together were wonderful.
I tried a bite of Filet and risotto and wow! It was super tender. The filet wasn’t overly flavored, but the risotto was super rich and creamy; so, with the combination of that and the awesome cabernet reduction, the meat didn’t need too much flavor. My husband ate every single bite!
The crispy brussel sprouts were killer. Again, with a little bit of sweetness to them and crisped to perfection, they were a perfect side dish to balance our meals. (I ended up taking about half of the dish home. It was a lot for two.)
Bird Dog was a pleasant surprise. It almost feels like something Joanna Gaines would put together with its white walls and rustic finishes. What a great treasure to find in the small town of Mattawan!
The food is super fresh and super inventive. Something for everyone! I was happy to find a lighter meal with real color. I cannot wait to get back to try more!
Elizabeth Precopio is a hairstylist by day and 24/7 food enthusiast. She visits restaurants in the Kalamazoo area and blogs about her experience at feedmekzoo.com