Restaurant review

Restaurant Review: The Grove

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

The upscale yet laid-back corner is the brainchild of chef, sommelier and owner Michael Haycook. A few years ago it expanded into the second adjoining space to add a cozy bar and more seating. Haycook has done a fabulous job curating an international wine list that spans the globe from the Americas to Europe and all the way to South Africa. From the start, we knew it was going to be an expensive meal, with only a handful of bottles under $100 and half of the entrees reaching almost $50. But we were here for the experience – and what an experience it was.

Brown Butter Crab Cavatelli from The Grove. Photo by Aaron Bristol

The seasonal menu is succinct but well thought out. We started with several starters, including a half dozen Kusshi oysters ($24) from the Pacific Northwest. A clean, brackish flavor was accentuated with a wonderfully unexpected yuzu granita, or crushed ice. The local wahoo ($21), served as sashimi with aji amarillo, sesame, noriand garnished with black garlic oil, was smooth with delicate smoky notes. A braised and grilled octopus ($22) stood out for its buttery tenderness. Two large pieces sat on smooth mashed potatoes and piquillo aioli. The final entree was the beef carpaccio ($18) coated in chili oil and a ginger scallion relish that gave the gossamer slices a splendid crunch and hint of heat. We also ordered the Warm Rosemary Brioche Bread Parmigiano ($5), which was a far cry from a basic cold bread basket, and used it to mop up the sauce from the carpaccio.

The evening dishes were well timed with a slight break for digestion and conversation before the starters. The Atlantic halibut ($48) had a lovely sear, and each flaky bite was topped off with the lemongrass and green peppercorn beurre blanc. Homemade pasta for the evening included the Brown Butter Crab Cavatelli ($36) which mingled with a few unique vegetables like celeriac and escarole. Garnishing the dish with a pinch of hazelnut enhanced 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.

Of the three desserts I tried ($12 each), it was nearly impossible to pick a favorite. Velvety sugar-dusted donuts oozed Nutella, airy chocolate cake mousse was anything but overwhelming, and the Heath Bar Bread Pudding exceeded expectations: warm, gooey, and a decadent way to end the intimate evening.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO:

CAR PARK: Street parking

HOURS: Tue-Sat, 6pm-10.30pm

PRICES: $14-$48

WEBSITE: thegrovedelray.com

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

This story is from February 2022 issue of boca magazine. To learn more, click here to subscribe to the magazine.