Morels are cropping up in Northern Michigan restaurants come spring. Find the marvelous morels at these premium dining destinations and taste the spectrum of spring’s bounty Up North. Find morels and more in the May 2015 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.
111 West Bay Street, Harbor Springs 231.242.4233
A vibrant Spring mise en place of Michigan brook trout, morel mushrooms, fiddlehead ferns and piquant wild leeks awaits the flame at The Depot Club and Restaurant in Harbor Springs. Chef Bob Stark, formerly of Andante in Petoskey, leads the culinary charge at this richly appointed supper club beside Harbor Springs’ glittering yacht basin and old money mansions. Stark embraces a seasonal cooking strategy studding his spring menu with tasty temporal creations like pappardelle with ramps, fiddleheads and spring peas in morel cream sauce or a crispy morel pizza with Gruyère, thyme and fresh asparagus. Sautéed morels are also mounded over richly marbled prime steaks or served in a grilled asparagus salad with bleu cheese and tomato vinaigrette. Guests can raid the Depot’s New World wine list or even pre-order rare trophies from the locally housed Fisher wine collection. Open to the public through June 12th, The Depot Club offers annual and seasonal dining memberships.
9001 South Dunns Farm Road, Maple City 231.334.3944
Few delicacies surpass a fresh morel in the hands of a capable Frenchman, and chef Guillaume Hazaël-Massieux does not disappoint. Expect a classic appetizer of morels in Marsala and cream over toasted rustic bread, or order them heaped on your entrée.
1200 West Eleventh Street, Traverse City 231.929.8989
Stella’s chef Myles treats his morels like truffles, sautéeing them simply with garlic, salt and pepper and serving them over handmade fettucine. Also look for a pig’s head tortelloni in savory morel brodo.
6303 East Jordan Road, Ellsworth 231.588.7351
A hub of morchella madness for over 40 years, The Rowe hosts a morel dinner series with five courses of classic fungi creations like mushroom tarts and roast lamb with morels and ricotta gnocchi.
12853 US31 North, Charlevoix 231.237.9300
At Esperance the fruit of the forests winds up roasted whole, stuffed with pheasant mousseline and painted with demi-glace, sautéed with a splash of cream over chef Suzanne’s housemade pasta or perhaps accenting a juicy veal chop.
4178 West Street, Walloon Lake 231.535.2999
This swankily refurbished restaurant on the shores of Walloon sees chef Michael Sullivan processing mountains of fresh morels and baking them with Madeira, Parmigiano and cream, stuffing them in fresh agnolotti and extracting their earthy charms in a savory mushroom soup.
202 East State Street, Traverse City 231.929.0900
Commingling the flavors of spring, Towne Plaza’s chef Chris Hoffman serves morels and fresh asparagus over seared pheasant breast and potato gnocchi or highlights the mushroom’s intrinsic flavor with a deliciously simple sautéed appetizer.