San Chez Bistro
Tapas – small plates of Spanish cuisine that you can share with your friends are all the rage these days. We like to think the trend is more about less food for more money, but either way, it is what it is. Long before the small plate craze took hold, San Chez led the way with their Spanish style restaurant.
From the moment you enter, you’re flooded with vibrant colors, from the carpet to the ornately decorated columns, all the way up to the tin ceiling. Special menus abound! They have TEN special menus!
One of those is the vegan menu. Ask for it and you’ll get a list of everything on their regular menu that is vegan, or easily altered to become vegan. To be honest we don’t visit San Chez too often. It’s an OK spot, and definitely part of the fabric of the culinary scene in Grand Rapids. Part of that issue is that the vegan dishes aren’t actually vegan dishes. It might be a vegetarian dish, but say it’s built around the cheese, when you take it off, the dish loses the fat and saltiness of that dish – not great. One of the better dishes is the alcachofas a la parilla – grilled artichoke hearts. Another big issue is the shared fryer. So anything on the vegan menu that’s fried, is likely to have been fried in oil that also is used to cook meat and dairy. To their credit, they do say it on the menu, unlike so many others in town who do this.
So that takes the Patatas Bravas and Tostone Fritos off the table. Two of the best, in our opinion.
There is almost always a vegan sorbet for dessert. Ask your server what flavors are available that day.
San Chez is known for their stiff drinks, and there is usually a half-off drink special. One of our favorites is the mojito, but they also make an amazing sangria that you can order by the pitcher.