Thursday, May 23, 2024

Restaurant Review: The Grove

The Grove, which has been tucked inside the tranquil Pineapple Grove District for nearly a decade, has been dubbed a hidden gem where Delray residents continuously slip into the dimly lit dining rooms or quaint outdoor patios for a meal that’s anything but ordinary. With the evolution from beach town to bustling city and the influx of newly opened restaurants, this neighborhood hangout continues to surprise diners with its vibrant seasonal dishes.

The upscale but casually comfortable nook is the creation of chef, sommelier and owner Michael Haycook. He expanded into the adjoining second space a few years ago to add a cozy bar and more seating. Haycook has done a fabulous job of curating an international wine list that spans the globe from the Americas to Europe and down to South Africa. From the start, we knew this was going to be a pricey meal, with only a handful of bottles under $100, and half the entrées nearly reaching $50. But we were here for the experience—and what an experience it was.

The Grove
Brown butter crab cavatelli from The Grove. Photo by Aaron Bristol

The seasonal menu is succinct but well thought out. We started off with several appetizers, including half a dozen Kusshi oysters ($24) from the Pacific Northwest. A clean, briny flavor was accentuated with a wonderfully unexpected yuzu granita, or shaved ice. The local wahoo ($21), served sashimi style with aji amarillo, sesame, noriand topped with black garlic oil, was soft with delicate smoky notes. A braised and grilled octopus ($22) was a standout for its buttery tenderness. Two large pieces sat over smooth mashed potatoes and a piquillo aioli. The final starter was the beef carpaccio ($18) coated with chili oil and a ginger scallion relish that gave the gossamer slices a splendid crunch and a hint of heat. We also ordered the warm rosemary Parmigiano brioche bread ($5), which was a far cry from a basic, cold breadbasket, and used it to sop up the carpaccio’s sauce.

The evening’s dishes were well timed with a slight pause for digestion and conversation before the entrees. The Atlantic halibut ($48) had a nice sear, and each flaky bite was complemented with the lemongrass and green peppercorn beurre blanc. House-made pastas for the evening included the brown butter crab cavatelli ($36) that mingled with a couple unique vegetables like celery root and escarole. Capping the dish with a sprinkling of hazelnut elevated the flavors even more. The ricotta occhi pasta ($46) filled with braised beef cheek and crowned with Burgundy truffles was a favorite for its savory creaminess.

From the three desserts I tried ($12 each), it was nearly impossible to choose a favorite. Sugar-dusted velvety donuts oozed Nutella, an airy chocolate cake mousse was everything but overpowering, and the Heath bar bread pudding exceeded expectations: warm, gooey and a decadent way to end the intimate evening.

IF YOU GO:

PARKING: Street parking

HOURS: Tues.-Sat., 6-10:30 p.m.

PRICES: $14-$48

WEBSITE: thegrovedelray.com

187 N.E. Second Ave., Delray Beach; 561/266-3750; thegrovedelray.com

This story is from the February 2022 issue of Boca magazine. For more like this, click here to subscribe to the magazine.

Christie Galeano-DeMott
Christie Galeano-DeMott
Christie is a food lover, travel fanatic, bookworm, Francophile, and she believes art in all its forms is good for the soul. When she’s not writing about the incredible dishes, people and places that capture South Florida's culture and vibe, Christie is irresistibly happy in the company of her husband and a glass of red wine.

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