Thursday, November 29, 2012

North Peak Brewing Company

An upscale, trendy bar atmosphere greets diners at Traverse City's North Peak Brewing Company.

Every town has its mainstay. A place that is consistently good, both in food and service. A place that is always a good choice when your brain is failing at the "where should we eat" question. For Traverse City, that place is North Peak.

While the menu at North Peak is filled with amazing selection, many gravitate toward their hearth baked pizzas. Yum!

North Peak is part of a local grouping of restaurants here in the Grand Traverse Region that includes Blue Tractor, Jolly Pumpkin, etc. It's an upscale pub, a fun place to take the family and a grand place for a date! While this Traverse City mainstay has many mainstays of its own (like a pint of house brewed Northern Light, a hearth baked pizza, a perfect burger or an outstanding cup of white cheddar ale soup), I am constantly drawn to one of two bits of sensory savors on the menu: the Cajun crawfish salad or the hangar steak. Both of these dishes have always been spot on for me, hitting me right in the middle of my favored flavor zone. Just thinking about them sends my senses whirling! They are both quite delicious!

A burger and a pint. Never a better lunch combination!

But, those two dishes are not the only ones on the menu. Let's dig into that, shall we?

North Peak offers a completely satisfying lunch and dinner menu. Both menus mirror each other in quite a few ways. A lot of the same dishes are shared by each menu, the only real difference between those dishes on each menu is the price. Example: The hangar steak ordered at lunch time will set you back $14. On the dinner menu, that steak is $18. Rather sneaky, I do admit, but both prices are well within the "acceptable" zone for this, the most scrumptious dish on the menu. 

The large bar at North Peak is perfect for game watching or socializing. 

On both menus, you'll find a delightful mix of choices. 

On the lunch menu, you'll come across an appetizer section with prices ranging from $5.95-$10.95. My ideal lunch time appetizer is always the corn dusted calamari ($8.95). That same section on the dinner menu maintains the same price and selection. For dinner, I'd snag the beer steamed mussels for $10. This "appetizer" is big enough to be a meal by itself!

Next up would be North Peak's ever popular hearth baked pizzas. The lunch menu has these ranging in price from $8.50-$10.95. These are usually the perfect size for two to share. At lunch time, I always gravitate toward the wild mushroom pizza. This thing consists of wild mushrooms, garlic-herb olive oil, mozzarella, fontina cheese and cracked black pepper, all for only $8.50. Nice! On the dinner menu, these things range from $10-$12. My pizza of choice at dinner time is BBQ Boar pizza for $12. Wild boar, nice!

After that comes the soup and salad menu. $4.95 will get you a bowl of soup. I'd go with the white cheddar ale, it never disappoints! The salads range in price from $4.95 to $13.95 during lunch. I'm not a huge fan of snagging a salad to go along with my meal, but, when I'm checking out a North Peak salad for lunch, I always choose the Cajun crawfish salad. This thing is spectacular! It has spicy crawfish tails over mixed greens with tomatoes, pepperjack cheese, bell peppers, red onions and chipotle ranch dressing, all for $9.95. If you love seafood, you'll love this thing! Dinner menu choices range from $5-$17. At dinner, I still snag the crawfish salad. Yeah, that good!

Next come the sandwiches. For lunch, they range from $8.50 to $10. If you're seeking something tasty for lunch, try the wasabi salmon sandwich. It's $10 and you'll dig it! At dinner, these sandwiches range from $10-$11. The herbed Monte Cristo is a grand way to spend a dinner time!

Lunches signature dishes are always fun. They range from $10 to $14. I'm always up for the honey porter hangar steak, a porter marinated hanger steak served with smoked Gouda mashed redskins, curried haystack onions and seasonal vegetables for $13.95. At dinner, prices range from $15-$27, with a few additional dinner menu choices. I still love that steak, but the Parmesan white fish for $18 is always a tempting deviation.

The dessert section, a favorite of mine, rounds out this always pleasing menu. Prices range from $3 to $6. And, while we're on this subject, let me make sure that you understand this: do not miss the black and tan brownie! It's a homemade chocolate brownie with New York-style cheesecake baked on top, served with vanilla malt ice cream, chocolate ice cream and hot fudge for just $5.95! Wowza!

A wide open kitchen allows you to watch your meal take shape.

This joint also has a full kids menu, complete with smiley face fries and some grand fruit and veggie options. Speaking of kids, they eat free on Sundays, all day long. Yeah, you heard me, kids eat free!

In addition to some of the most satisfying food in Traverse City, this place also brews up some tasty beers! Their taps are filled with their homemade concoctions. I always snag a Northern Light. Lately, I've also been a fan of their Diabolical IPA. Very fun! The Siren Amber Ale is also a supremely yummy brew. Pints run from $4 to $5. Grab a 22 ouncer for around $6. If you take a seat in this Traverse City restaurant, you should NOT miss their beer!

Traverse City's North Peak is the place where locals and visitors alike will congregate for some good food, good convo and good peeps! North Peak is the perfect locale to meet up after work for a brew, gather around the bar for the big game, slip into a booth with that special someone or just snag a beer and a hangar steak with your buds. Lady's night, men's night, date night, it doesn't matter; North Peak fits right into any set of plans. That's why folks love it!

(All photos by Lisa Kelly and Brooks Vanderbush)

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