BELLAIRE - If the idea of starting a meal with a hot bowl of homemade white cheddar cheese soup garnished with bacon or steamed mussels prepared with Quebec ale, shallots and parsley, then enjoying an entrée of filet mignon topped with a truffled Madeira sauce with feves au lard (maple glazed baked beans), or grilled sea scallops topped with a Canadian whisky sauce with “mashers”-homemade mashed potatoes, while washing it down with a Molson Canadian lager beer or one of several Michigan alcoholic beverages, appeals to you, then you’ll want to run, not walk, to Bellaire’s newest steakhouse, Jack Fiddler.
You can be certain you won’t run into any windigos, but you‘re undoubtedly going to run into a number of your friends and neighbors.
Named for Canadian legend Jack Fiddler, a native Cree shaman notorious for his alleged ability to conjure animals and protect his people from the spells of the dreaded wendigo, a cannibalistic spirit that would possess people during all-too-frequent bouts of famine, the Jack Fiddler Steak House is located in the dining room of the Bellaire Golf Club on M88 south of Bellaire.
Operated by Chef Eric Fritch, of Traverse City’s La Patisserie Amie, one of TC’s hottest new French bakeries, now coupled with new dinner bistro Chez Pere, Jack Fiddler specializes in serving steaks and seafood at their best, with a French Canadian twist.
The steak Montreal, for instance, is a traditional New York Strip, grilled with classic seasoning, and served with the very popular “poutine”- French Fries topped with cheese and a French Canadian gravy. The feves au lard, or maple glazed baked beans made from Great Northern beans, are another of the unique side dishes such as creamed spinach, celeri remoulade, and oignons frites that go well with other entrees such as Plat De Cotes (BBQ baby back ribs), Cote De Boeuf, a bone-in ribeye for two, barbeque salmon topped with a maple-hoisin glaze, Canadian bacon, a house cured pork loin with hollandaise, and Pork and Beans, maple baked beans with pork shoulder and belly.
If you are trying to watch the calories, there are a number of salads also offered as sides, and seafood lovers will find a delightful array of top quality clams, escargots, calamari, oysters Rockefeller, shrimp, and scallops.
Slake your thirst with a local Shorts or Right Brain Ale, or a a popular New Holland Saison or Guiness as well as Leinenkugel, LaBatt’s and Heineken, if you enjoy a good beer, or enjoy either a bottle or glass of a variety of excellent Michigan and California wines, or even a bottle of the French sparkly Pommery champagne for that special occasion. A full liquor bar is also available.
You can eat very, very well at the Jack Fiddler Steak House, but if any of the above hasn’t been enough you can always try Fritch’s absolutely luxurious Crème Brulee for dessert.
And you’ll do it for a surprisingly affordable price of an average $20 per entrée, each of which is served with fresh, hot bread and a side, with salads ala carte.
Noting that he does much of his shopping for his menu at area farmers’ markets, Fritch noted on a recent busy Friday night that he is looking forward to autumn and offering seasonal regional foods such as duck and venison on his fall menu.
Currently open for dinner at 4:30 p.m. six days a week, the Jack Fiddler Steakhouse is a wonderful addition to Antrim County’s gourmet food scene and a dining delight nobody should miss out on. But in case you just can’t get there this summer, Fritch and his wife Amy are planning to have their new bistro open at least through the end of October.