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Morgan_Weber

[Houston] The Grove

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The Grove Restaurant, in the new Discovery Green development near the George R. Brown Convention Center is, to my knowledge, the first new fine-ish dining restaurant that Schiller-del Grande has done since Cafe Annie--of course, they've had Cafe Express, Taco Milagro, and Rio Ranch to keep them busy in the mean-time.

Last night after work, a friend of mine and I dropped by. My first impression of the restaurant is that it is an absolutely beautiful space. We didn't have time to get a full meal, so we sat at the bar and ordered some drinks and appetizers to get a feel of the place.

The guys at the bar were friendly, with a slightly above-average knowledge of cocktails. I started off with my usual Sidecar and he got it mostly right...a little more sugar than I'm used to, but mostly right--at least all the right ingredients. I moved on to their specials list and ordered a Maple Manhattan and a Ginger Margarita. The Maple Manhattan was tasty, but again quite a bit sweeter than I prefer. The Margarita on the other hand, uses fresh ginger, muddled with simple syrup--nicley refreshing and tasty.

I guess my confusion about the place as a whole, lies in the menu. I don't think I really understand what they are going after. To start with, the menu is huge; broken up into three columns. Under the appetizers, there is everything from Chile con Queso and chicken wings, to more upscale apps like duck meatballs. In the entrees section are six or seven fine-dining-type items ranging in price from $24-$30 or so dollars (I don't have the menu in front of me so I'm working from my memory). They seem to fit the look of the place.

The second column starts with salads, maybe eight of them--three or four side salads and then larger, meal-type salads. Under that section is the 'You-Call-It' menu consisting of proteins (hangar steak, flounder, salmon, chicken, etc.) that, I assume are prepared any way you wish.

The top of the third column starts off with a cheese plate selection. Following that, I believe, are the a la carte sides. Then the Burgers, Sandwiches, and Pizzas list. And under that is a selection from the rotisserie...

Our food and drinks were tasty...granted they were just appetizers, but my interest was definitely piqued enough to warrant a second or third visit to have a full meal. My only question is regarding the menu. I don't quite understand what they were going for with such a wide selection of styles and prices. It seems to me that they would have to move an extremely large amount of food to keep fresh, a menu of that size.

A complete meal at The Grove could cost you under $20 if you were eating burgers and pizzas, while other people sitting at the same table could easily drop $100 plus.

My first impression is that it is a restaurant with four or five sub-restaurants inside...except it is all really just one restaurant. :wacko: Again, maybe I'm missing something, but the concept came across to me as a bit schizophrenic. If someone knows anything behind the concept, please enlighten me.

Again, the food, although I didn't really understand it, was good and worth a try.

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I wonder if some of the menu will switch over to the Boathouse(isn't that the name of the other place in Discovery Green)?

Also, I don't know if they have put up a website in the last week but it looks like all they have is a blurb in the discovery green website? No menu, no wine list...

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I wonder if some of the menu will switch over to the Boathouse(isn't that the name of the other place in Discovery Green)?

Also, I don't know if they have put up a website in the last week but it looks like all they have is a blurb in the discovery green website? No menu, no wine list...

www.thegrovehouston.com

menu's on there, not sure about wine list.

From what I hear, the Lake House is supposed to be just nice burgers and fries. So I don't think any of the menu's supposed to transfer over. Could be wrong.

Ryan Pera, formerly of 17 is heading the kitchen as executive chef. Having once worked for him, I can say the food should be anywhere from extremely solid to really good. The food is a lot calmer than 17's menu was though.

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I wonder if some of the menu will switch over to the Boathouse(isn't that the name of the other place in Discovery Green)?

Also, I don't know if they have put up a website in the last week but it looks like all they have is a blurb in the discovery green website? No menu, no wine list...

www.thegrovehouston.com

menu's on there, not sure about wine list.

From what I hear, the Lake House is supposed to be just nice burgers and fries. So I don't think any of the menu's supposed to transfer over. Could be wrong.

Ryan Pera, formerly of 17 is heading the kitchen as executive chef. Having once worked for him, I can say the food should be anywhere from extremely solid to really good. The food is a lot calmer than 17's menu was though.

Just found the menu. You have to acutally read the site, its not up there on a toolbar or anything like that.

I'm sure they wont be transferring some of the menu over to Lakehouse but why in the world do they have chicken wings and queso on the Groove menu? Thats a little odd isn't it? Maybe its a bar area only item? I bet they are good though.


Edited by jscarbor (log)

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Going to The Grove tonight for a full-blown dinner.  Thoughts on the experience coming tomorrow...

Wouldn't you know it...

Right after I posted, I called for a reservation...completely booked up. Alas, nothing to report.

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Stopped by the Grove on a sunny afternoon to check out the park (Still some work going on) and peek in The Grove. The park looks like it will be a really cool place to hang out at. I like that they will have some entertainmant periodically. It will be really cool to hang on the lawn listening to some tunes and eating something from the casual restaurant drinking a cold one.

The Grove is a slick looking place. The first thing you notice is that it is huge! I don't know how they can make a restaurant this size work? You could have 100 people dining and it could look empty.

Anyway I decided to have a house margarita. The rita was not that great really, more sugar than sour. And the price tag for this small house margarita? Try $11.50! Are you kidding?

Don't know about the food but I will probably not find out. The menu looks a little boring to me. To many interesting places with way better wine lists and a whole lot of places with better margaritas to go to for a whole lot cheaper.

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The Boathouse or Lakeside, not sure what it is called exactly, didn't work out in my opinion. I had the special hot dog. It had a nasty texture to it. The bun, which really can make or break a good hot dog (love those steamed buns at James' Coney Island) was not up to snuff. It was flavorless. My favorite buns of all time were in the basement snack bar of Foley's downtown, when I was growing up. They would shave the hot dog bun sides and toast the buns so you got this wonderful, crispy hot dog bun.

My best guess is that the Boathouse is being staffed by people who don't have a clue about how stuff is supposed to taste. Someone set up their menu for them and they aren't doing the little tweaks that make for a great hot dog. I'd love to hang out in their kitchen and troubleshoot their food for them.

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