Last night was another successful date night. Success equals delicious food, perfect wine, and enough dessert to make the seams of my stomach burst. We went to one of our favorite restaurants in Austin called The Grove Wine Bar and Kitchen, or just “The Grove.” The first time we went there we got the impression that The Grove was kind of an upscale restaurant with a slightly casual feel. Shelves of wine line the walls, silver boat-like drapes hang from the ceiling, candles light the tables, and a large contemporary painting of an abstract wine bottle boasts itself at the entrance. I felt kind of fancy being there, all dressed up in my heels and lipstick. Then I looked around and noticed a lot of people dressed in casual outfits: shorts, caps, tennis skirts, I kid you not. Even the waiters were cute and casual in simple cotton t-shirts with The Grove logo. I thought maybe we were dressed a bit on the fancy side, but it didn’t feel awkward because I think The Grove allows you to wear whatever you want. This must go back to the Keep Austin Weird, and then tag on Casual and Comfortable, mantra that Austinites choose to live by.
But I did just mention tennis skirts, and here’s why: The Grove is located right off 360 and Bee Caves Road, sort of out in the heart of West Lake Hills. So I get the impression that with the moderate prices, abundance of wine, and lunch specials, The Grove is the everyday eatery for the more posh west side dwellers of Austin. I envision these women stopping by for a glass and a slice after a slamming workout on the courts. And that’s okay because the food and the wine are delicious. I just don’t have the disposable income to eat at places like The Grove every week and after my own workouts.
Onto the food:
Kyle tends to order the same thing, but I have tried to spice it up every time I visit The Grove. We usually always begin by sharing the sesame seared Ahi tuna salad with sambai-ginger vinaigrette, Asian mixed greens, mandarin oranges, avocado, and wonton crispies. This salad is the just the perfect mix of tart and lush flavors. I feel like the greens are always flawlessly dressed with the beautiful sambai-ginger vinaigrette, and the seared Ahi dipped in the jalapeno soy sauce is something I always look forward to at The Grove. This is definitely one of my favorite salads in town and I was so eager to eat it that I forgot to take a photo. I will tell you now, though – it was a very pretty salad.
Kyle religiously orders the spaghetti Bolognese: slow-simmered veal and pork ragu with tomatoes and a touch of cream. He loves this recipe and he says the Bolognese sauce is what makes the dish. He shared a bite with me and I agree, the sauce is divine and flavorful, but I don’t really have experience with Bolognese because I am not really one for veal.
But apparently I have no problems with ham anymore. I used to say no to pork like it was a drug, but I am back to eating yummy ham when it is cooked in sort of a delicate, delicious way. So I ordered the fettuccine with prosciutto, wild mushrooms, and fresh peas in a spicy garlic cream. A coworker recommended this dish and I am trying to spread my wings beyond ordering the delicious Don’t Have a Cow … Man! pizza with eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, and roasted peppers with mozzarella, pesto, and marinara.
The prosciutto was amazing mixed with the cream sauce and peas. I never would have thought to put peas with pasta, but it works and gives the bowl of fettuccine some more color. It was incredible and I probably ate about three quarters of it, but I still felt like I had enough room in me for some dessert. My absolute favorite, no way around it, dessert is the chocolate bread pudding with whipped cream and strawberries. The serving could be meant for four, no doubt, but we ate as much as we could between the two of us. We did a pretty good job and devoured most of it. I just love the warm, gooey chocolate and the thicker, fuller texture of bread pudding. Like with the salad, I was also too eager to eat it before snapping a photo. You’ll just have to order this one for yourself.
I am glad I wore one of my fancy dresses with some extra eating room because I took full advantage of it after we left The Grove. We went to Stubb’s on Red River to check out Michael Kingcaid from What Made Milwaukee Famous in one of his solo gigs. This is one rockin’ choirboy, meaning his voice is incredible and that he rocks. You take a first glance at the longhaired, mustached musician and think the show may be kind of to really good because most musicians in Austin are kind of to really good. Michael Kingcaid is really, really, oh so good. He rocks his own tunes hard and throws a couple of covers into the mix that he rocks and plays like they were his own.
I apologize for the lack of photos this time around. I am trying to get better at this. But here is a recent photo of poodle for grins:
6317 Bee Caves
801 Red River St
Austin, TX 78701