The Grove - Houston
What's the word on The Grove? I'll be in Houston next month for a conference and will be having dinner there.
Chef, except for Cafe Annie, the rest of the Schiller/DelGrande Group chain restaurants have been very disappointing in our opinion. Uninspired and unprofessional wait staff, variability on food and one clear tip off on the kitchen and management - filthy restrooms. The Taco Milagro in River Oaks is ok, the one at Baybrook is weak. I'm ranting because we stopped by the new La Mesa Mex Bistro in the Woodlands Saturday - just plain bad.
Hello: We had a large group go to The Grove on Saturday Night, unique space and architectural highlights, speedy service and unique cusiine,portions were a bit small for price points
Nonetheless, when I go back to Houston I will stop again and again, just delightful
San Antonio Texas
i've heard very mixed reviews about it. i'm considering going there for lunch tomorrow. i'll let you know what i think if i go.
I've had drinks and apps in the bar area twice over the past month. They have a good selection of wines by the glass and a great variety of appetizers. The duck meatballs were fantastic. The atmosphere is nice and the noise level manageable. Others I know who have dined there said the food was great. My only negative comment is that service in the bar is very spotty. The staff is either overwhelmed or understaffed.
overall, the atmosphere is really nice, clean decor, spacious. mixed crowd of cafe annie and taco milagro (it is a del grande establishment). lots people coming/going to rockets/astro game/brown convention. elevator did not work! disappointed the bar upstairs is kinda plain, just open area with plastic chairs ... view probaly nicer during the day of the new discovery park. only good thing was that they have a tequila bar upstairs that serves the same good margaritas they have at taco milagro - my husband was salivating when he saw that!
now when i called last week to make reservations, the girl said they were FULLY booked. well, i went on opentable.com and was able to find reservations easily for 6:30 thru 9:30. hmnnn, are they trying to give the "impression" that they're sooo popular? when we got seated at 7:30, the dining area was about 2/3 full and remained that way until we left at 10:30.
our server was good, not great, and didn't seem to know his way around the menu (i guess the place is brand new, but ya think he should be well versed in it). anyhoo ... for appetizers, we had duck meatballs (6/10), ribs (7/10), ceviche (7/10). overall, good, but nothing to write home about. for entree, i had the seafood stew 5/10 (boy, was i disappointed - dry, about 3 tbsp of soup/stew, very bland). my husband had the scallops seared - he said it was a 7/10 - again, nothing special. our friends had the quail (he thought it was great 8.5/10) and shrimp (she said it was good).
the desserts were ok. don't order the choc cake (icing moist, cake dry) or apple cobbler (a ton of bland apple pieces with a towel-draped crust). our friends loved their caramel flan and ice cream.
service was a bit choppy, but again, i guess i'll owe it to just having opened. overall, great atmosphere, decent bland food, ok-good service. just go there for drinks and appetizers ... then head over to soma, catalan, or mark's!
houston, we NEED some good restaurant transplants from NY, LA or Las Vegas!!!!
I happen to strongly disagree with your last statement abs. One of the reasons that I feel separates Houston from Dallas is that Houston isn't inundated with this flux of upscale chains. Recent transplants like Bank and Noe haven't been all that succesful. One of the major problems with these transplants is that the pricing for the food and beverages is usually the same as it is in either NYC or LA. I am much more happy to dine at a restaurant like Reef (former chef at Bank) where the chef is cooking what he wishes and not having to follow the corporate guidelines of Jean Georges. BTW, what transplants would you want from Vegas? All the well-known restaurants there are primarily transplants from NY and LA.
I'll complete the circle of life and quickly review my dinner.
First, the place is HUGE. There is a large dining room with additional rooms that can be reserved for private functions. They spent a bundle decorating the place. When I realized the place was full of innumerable Phillipe Starck-designed "Ghost Chairs" ($400 apiece, retail) I knew my wallet was about to be pitchforked.
Our server did not seem able to tell us about the dishes beyond what was written on the menu, which is always a bad sign.
The baby back rib appetizer was nice (no Jaspers, tho) (sorry, had to), and the duck meatballs were very tasty - their uniquenes alone probably justifies all the hype. I enjoyed them, but when you have a party of five, servers should realize that it is just STUPID to bring out shares appetizer dishes with only four portions. Either make an exception or put in 1 1/2 orders.
My red snapper entree was unimaginitive and, though some accompaniment of meyer lemons (a jam or sauce or chutney or something) was promised, there was not a hint of lemony essence to be found. It would likelly have livened up the fish to "enjoyable."
The bar area was stocked with top shelf downtowners, and the outdoor bar deck will likely be packed when Springtime comes. If the molded plastic Phillipe Starck chairs weren't so uncomfortable the Grove would make for some nice people watching.
As the last poster commented, drinks there would be fun (but remember, you'll be paying for those chairs), so do pre-dinner at the Grove and move on.
Man, I wish I had those duck meatballs...everyone says they are great! I had a light dinner at the bar: ceviche, a salad, and some strawberry shortcake for dessert. Ceviche had way too much lime juice and way seriously soupy. The other problem was the fish wasn't all that great in it. I order ceviche almost every time I go to a place that has it on the menu, and this was definitely the worst I've had. Salad was fine, but I have to admit that the strawberry shortcake was out of this world. Next time I'll be going for the duck meatballs and more shortcake!