First of all, who wouldn’t like a restaurant that introduces itself like this?
‘Since I was 5 years old, I’ve been in a restaurant kitchen. It is my life.
Cooking is my passion. My love is my wife, Elizabeth. Her passion is service.’
That’s how Tom Wahlstrom introduces the online world to his wonderful restaurant, Elizabeth’s Chophouse, in Marquette Michigan. On its website, he and his wife, Elizabeth, go on to say, ‘This restaurant is a culmination of our passions, devotions and love. We hope you will enjoy our efforts to bring you that same passion in the finest quality food and the areas finest service. Relax, sit back and enjoy a delicious dining experience.’
What a promise! And you know what? What they say is what you get – a fabulous dining experience in a lovely, welcoming and attentive environment.
Located on a downtown street of historic buildings, Elizabeth’s Chophouse backs up to one of Marquette’s shipping and boating harbors on majestic Lake Superior, where summer visitors can dine on the screened-in back porch, perched high above the activity. That’s where our group enjoyed a fabulous dinner.
In a land of rugged wilderness, quaint historic architecture and down-home specialties, like Upper Peninsula pasties (folded pastry dough filled meat, potatoes and vegetables), Elizabeth’s haute cuisine is, in itself, a big surprise. And the fact that it has the quality of a downtown Manhattan five-star, well, it’s incredible.
The menu, which has weekly and seasonal specialties, generally offers a grand array of appetizers, including escargot, shrimp or crab cocktails, oysters Rockefeller, Seafood Medley St.Jacques and a Seafood Sampler of lobster tails, crab legs, clams, Oysters Rockefeller, shrimp and crab cakes. (Who needs dinner, right?!) We ordered the pan fried calamari, which came delicately seasoned and perfectly done. It was fresh and tender, with just the right amount of chewiness.
Salad choices include a Chop House Wedge , Caesar and House, all with freshly made dressings.
Meat entrees include a wide variety of beef steaks and cuts, from the signature bone-in tenderloin to Prime Rib and a whopping 40-ounce Porterhouse. Pork chops and lamb chops also are among the choices.
Other entrees include lobster tails, King Crab legs, jumbo shrimp, cedar-planked Lake Superior whitefish with Washington state merlot reduction and garlic spinach, broiled Lake Superior whitefish, olive oil poached halibut, a pan-roasted exotic mushroom & gorgonzola stuffed chicken breast, and portabella eggplant.
Side dishes range from traditional baked potatoes, onion rings and steamed asparagus to items like linguini with white clam sauce, grilled asparagus with bleu cheese and pancetta, and an orzo-artichoke rice blend.
I had the broiled Lake Superior whitefish. With a bit of butter, salt, paprika and pepper, it is one of the menu’s ‘plain Jane’s’ but, in my estimation, one of the best ways to enjoy this delicious local fish. Others at the table had halibut with a crabmeat stuffing, which was exquisitely prepared.
As we dined, Head Chef and owner, Tom Wahlstrom, visited with us and other diners a couple of times. Entertaining our table of golf writers, he pulled ball markers out of his pocket from nearby Greywalls at Marquette Golf Club (where he is a member, and where we had just played) for each of us. It was a nice touch.
The dessert tray is an eyeful of delectable creations, including a Chophouse sampler that offers a trio of tastes – miniature Key Lime pie, miniature chocolate lava cake and a miniature chocolate turtle torte; and a wonderful carrot cake, which is not-too-sweet, but rich and tall – perfect.
While the porch was our choice spot, the restaurant interior with natural wood floors and walls of local art for sale is lovely.
Elizabeth’s Chophouse, 113 S. Front Street, in Marquette, Mich., is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. www.elizabethschophouse.com