LAKE LINDEN - There's a new head chef at De la Terre Bistro and by the sound of it, he already has a following.
"When we found out it was Ryan, we knew he would be good," Barb Rose of Houghton said. "He always comes out to our table to greet us and tell us what's new. What a treat to have such a skilled chef here."
Originally from Ann Arbor, Ryan Couch started at De la Terre just over a month ago. He brings 10 years of culinary experience to the Lake Linden restaurant, having worked as the executive chef at Real Seafood Company in lower Michigan, where Rose used to frequent.
Chef Ryan Couch visits with Cindy Crabtree?and Dan LaBelle at De la Terre Bistro. Ryan brings 10 years of culinary experience to the Lake Linden restaurant.
"We lived in Ann Arbor for 20 years before we moved here and we used to go there all the time," she said.
Ryan said their philosophy at De la Terre involves the "from scratch" approach in every aspect of the cooking process. Additionally, they go out of their way to use local, seasonally changing ingredients whenever possible.
"Whether it be dairy, proteins, vegetables, there's a lot of options up here," he said. "We want to allow the ingredients to speak for themselves."
De la Terre is a charming European bistro with its natural stone walls, dark wood furnishings and fireplace. The dining room and saloon are joined by old-fashioned pocket doors and the decor is comprised of reclaimed historic materials, like the Martini Building mural above the bar and the reclaimed Calumet & Hecla granite bar top.
Ryan said since he moved to the Copper Country with his wife Alayna and their two children, he's been getting to know many of his guests on a first-name basis, something he feels is important.
"I think when people go out to eat they have certain expectations as far as counting on a good meal, good service and a pleasant environment where everything is at their pace and leisure," he said. "We're not changing our quality, we're changing our approach."
De la Terre serves lunch and dinner daily and the new menu features comfort food with a French twist. The prices are very reasonable considering the quality of ingredients, freshly baked breads and the choice of soup or salad.
"We still have the favorites from our past menu, like the lake trout, our house smoked pork chop and filet mignon, we're just doing a little different spin on it," he said. "You're going to see more seafood on there, too."
Some of the new seafood options include a salmon entre, shrimp pasta, a calamari appetizer and a new and improved version of mussels. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available as well.
One of the more seasonal items Ryan said is sure to be a favorite is their pumpkin agnolotti - a half-moon whole wheat pasta shell with a bleu cheese cream sauce.
Ryan said their pastry chef Taylor Jones makes all of De la Terre's pastas and breads from scratch daily. While their signature breads include focaccia, ciabatta and French bread baguette, Ryan said they do change the variety occasionally and their breads are sold wholesale as well.
"When you use quality, you're going to get quality," he said.
From the bar, guests will find three varieties of Keweenaw Brewing Company beer on draft and a dozen varieties of scotch, among other spirits.
De la Terre offers catering on- or off-site and the dining room and saloon are available for special occasions, holiday parties or other gatherings. The rooms can be used together or they can be separated.
Ryan said he is more than happy to help his guests create a menu for their special event.
"We cater to individual needs depending on what their budget is," he said. "We can do anything from full-course entres and appetizers to hors d'oeuvres and cocktail parties."
Discounted meals for birthdays and anniversaries are available as well. Half-priced bottles of wine are available Wednesday.
While Ryan is still settling in at De la Terre, his coworker, Karen Patterson, said she enjoys working with him because he has a positive attitude and is wonderful with the guests.
"Recently, he was able to come out and greet guests that I was serving and as they were leaving, I overheard them commenting to each other how 'very special' they felt that the chef took time to come and see how everyone was doing, how they liked their meals and engage in conversation with them," she said. "He is a great asset to De la Terre."
De la Terre is located at 924 9th St. in Lake Linden. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; dinner is served from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with extended saloon hours.
For more information, call 296-2050 or visit delaterrebistro.com.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by De la Terre Bistro of Lake Linden Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.