If there’s one thing I value, it’s variety. Routine bores me and the commonplace disinterests me. The same is true for my eating habits. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a traditional burger and beer joint as much as the next person, but I just prefer my burger to have a unique combination of toppings and my beer to be craft. Maybe that sounds snobbish, but I can’t help I have an innate desire to constantly try new foods and explore new places. Can you relate? If so, you’re probably a fellow foodie and will appreciate these restaurants in Greater Lansing that serve up delicious and unique dishes:
- Red Haven - Okemos | View Menu
If you have taste for fresh food and inventive combinations then you’ll love eating at Red Haven. This restaurant promises an element of surprise with every dish and they definitely deliver. Have you ever had foam on your meal? Well, don’t be surprised if you get served that here.
Best for: Dinner with friends. Red Haven is tapas style and sharing is encouraged. So, the more people you have, the more dishes you get to try! Right?
Must try: If it's available, give the squash blossoms a try. This popular dish (pictured in the blog header) is a true testament to Red Haven’s creativity in both aesthetics and flavor.
- The Cosmos – Old Town | View Menu
If your ideal pizza is “cheese-only” then The Cosmos probably isn’t the place for you. If you’re open to trying non-traditional toppings like morel mushrooms, cilantro chimichurri or basil chiffonade (just to name a few) you’re in luck. The Cosmos offers gourmet pizza with unique, seasonal toppings.
Best for: Lunch with a friend or coworker. What’s better than having a great lunch? Having a great lunch two days in a row, since you’ll likely have leftovers.
Must try: For the truly adventurous, try the “trust-us” pizza where the kitchen has total control of what shows up at the table. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for a side of duck fat fries with truffle oil and parmesan.
- The Creole – Old Town | View Menu
With a knack for adding flair to an otherwise traditional dish, it’s no surprise that The Creole is The Cosmos’ sister company. The Creole serves up New Orleans inspired dishes that have been carefully planned out by executive chef Dan Konopnicki.
Best for: Weekend brunch or a special occasion dinner. The Creole is a treat any time of the day!
Must try: If you stop in for brunch, try the bananas foster crêpes with a side of jalapeño bacon. I’m literally drooling just thinking about it.
- Maru Sushi and Grill – Okemos or East Lansing | View Menu
If you feel like every sushi restaurant offers the same rolls, then you haven’t tried Maru. Sure, they have a few of the more traditional rolls, but they also have a substantial list of Signature and Specialty rolls with combinations you won’t find anywhere else. At least I haven’t.
Best for: A dinner date. Maru's casual, yet sophisticated atmosphere is perfect for a first date or first anniversary.
Must try: My personal favorite (which I also raved about here) is the Madagascar roll, but like The Cosmos, you can ask for the chefs to surprise you with a unique creation.
I recommend giving all of these restaurants a try at least once. You’ll probably find yourself coming back on a regular basis and, in this case, that’s totally ok! Each restaurant has enough unique dishes and consistent menu modifications to keep up with your complex palate.
Have you ever been to any of these restaurants? Do you have a unique spot I missed? Let me know in the comments section below! Also, be sure to check out our foodie page with more great info about Greater Lansing’s dining scene.