For the most part, families tend to live in the same geographic district as the rest of the family, but there are always exceptions to this rule. Here in the Detroit area, it is basically divided between the East and West side of the metropolitan area, though there are a few that try to make an argument for North and South. My Bride and her family are from the East side and she ended up on the West side, maybe the grapes grow better on the Western slope, but I digress. Well the family all had to meet, as occasionally happens away from all of our stomping grounds, unless you mix in Hockey games into the equation. We all ended up in Flat Rock, Michigan which is about an hour away for some of the family members, and for us it is still a good half hour or longer. As is the norm, when groups get together, the concept of where shall we eat comes up, and we all agreed on a restaurant that we all passed, even though we came from divergent areas of Metropolitan Detroit.
Big Bear Lodge is a rather unique looking structure for the greater Detroit area, as it looks like a log cabin or a rustic hunting lodge, but of rather a large size for the average log cabin. Everyone kind of agreed that it looked like a venue one would find up North, near the Traverse City part of the state, but since we had all seen it, it would be easy to meet there for dinner. My Bride has actually been to this restaurant a couple of times in the course of her job, so she was touting the choice, which also made it an easier decision yet. Not only does the building look like a log cabin from the outside, but on the inside as well, and not to mention all the outdoor activity props that are mounted on the walls and anyplace that they could find an open space. The menu was for the most part American comfort food, with some of the great outdoors added to zing up the menu. While being eclectic in the food offerings from Nachos and pizzas to pasta to Angus steaks, there was some buffalo, ostrich and elk dishes, so one had to study the menu for a couple of minutes as the eight of us did. My Bride had what she has always gotten at the restaurant a grilled salmon salad that had mixed greens, roasted corn, black bean relish and topped with crunch onion strips. I was all set to order some St. Louis style ribs, because from the moment I had entered into the restaurant I could smell them cooking, but I decided to try something a little different. They had Buffalo Meatloaf on garlic mashed redskins also topped with crispy onion strings. The dish had very good flavor, though it was a bit heavier then I had anticipated, since most buffalo dishes that I have had were on the lighter side, but I did finish my dinner. I was surprised at how quickly we were seated since there were eight of us, but then I looked around and noticed that there were quite a few large tables and all of the tables were busy, so they do a very good business, which is always great to see.
They even had a good selection of assorted beverages; one of the woman ordered a drink called a “Flannel Blanket” which was hot cocoa with Baileys and Grand Marnier and she said it was wonderful. The beer list was international and it contained all of the most popular choices that most people know. I was surprised as the depth of the wine list, while they were no spectacular wines listed on the carte there was a good choice of many different varietals, plus house wines, all listed as from dry to sweet, and from light to full bodied. While my Bride enjoyed a BV Chardonnay, I tried a Merlot, but it was a bit lighter than I anticipated. To accompany my dinner I ordered a glass of Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, which is made by E. & J. Gallo Winery and carries a California designation. It was a decent glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, not a lot of nuance, but good color and tannins, and it tasted like a Cab should for the money. Alas after dinner, I notice a placard on another table that showed that they also had at the moment a Cline Syrah, and I would have probably ordered that to go with my dinner, but my drink did suffice. All in all, we enjoyed our time together as well as our dinner and drinks. If I am ever out that way again, I may stop there again.