each year, my parents insist that we stay home for new year’s eve & ring in the new year as a family. most of us kids typically disregard that request & go out with our friends for the holiday. this is because our parents inevitably stay home & wait for the ball to drop before anticlimactically heading up to bed. this year was no exception. our parents confronted us while we were discussing potential new year’s plans & told us that no one was going anywhere this year. as a family, we get along famously, so we have no problem hanging out amongst ourselves, no matter what the occasion. however, we told our parents that if they wanted us to spend new year’s eve with them as a family, they were going to have to plan something that didn’t involve pizza hut & half-heartedly blowing on party horns as we laid around in a food coma waiting for the ball to drop. luckily, our parents took us up on our offer.
our parents reserved a room at the amway grand hotel in downtown grand rapids & made dinner reservations at cygnus 27, an AAA four diamond restaurant located inside the hotel. i had never eaten there before, so i was excited. unfortunately, we were all wholly unimpressed by the taste of the food. we were also very disappointed by the utter lack of vegetarian options. two of my sisters are pescetarians while my mom & i are mostly pescetarian, so we were frustrated by that. although we didn’t enjoy the food at all, we still had a really great time. it was fun to hang out together for the holiday & the dj played good music that made for fun dancing after dinner.
the new year’s eve special menu was fixed with two options for each course & no options for some courses. to start, they brought out a lobster cake, which tasted good. then, some of us got baked oysters while some of us got lamb chops. my sisters & i ordered the oysters & were disgusted to find them dressed with bacon. although i’m not a bacon fan, i dug in with an open mind. the oysters were absolutely awful. they had a fishy taste, which i chalked up to a lack of freshness.
next, we were able to choose between lobster bisque & vidalia onion soup. the lobster bisque was good, although it didn’t contain much lobster. i tried my sister’s onion soup, which was not tasty & involved entirely too much thyme. the fourth course was a “caesar salad.” at least that’s what they called it. we couldn’t find anything remotely resembling caesar dressing on our salads. the dressing was scarce & bland at best. there was also a crumbled hard-boiled egg on the dish, which made me think of salad bars at fast food restaurants.
for an entree, i had a japanese spice encrusted filet that was decent although quite heavy on the pepper & a lobster tail that tasted good. the potatoes were very bland. i loved mashed potatoes & i had no interest in taking more than one bite of these. lastly, i asked the waiter if any green vegetables were coming with my meal. he said yes, pointing to the pak choi on the menu. the pack choi is the single wilted green leaf pictured above — it was bitter & mushy.
i did enjoy dessert however. we were served the forbidden apple, a popular dessert from the now-closed 1913 room which was recently replaced by the ruth’s chris on the first level of the amway building. the outer shell of the “apple” is marzipan & the inside of the apple is made of coffee-flavored ice cream. when you get to the middle, out pours a creme de cacao liqueur. very yummy.
although we were upset with the overall mediocrity of the food, we were thankful to be able to spend the holiday together in a fun venue. i am sure the other patrons were mildly weirded out by our entire family taking over the dance floor after dinner, but we had fun & that’s all that matters. happy new year, everyone!