I checked in nearby using foursquare, and a tip from Bon Appétit Magazine appeared on my iPhone. They suggested I visit The Grove since I am so close…and most importantly, because the chef has been featured in their magazine.
I was on my way to Quattro, but decided The Grove is the place for Sunday Brunch this week. Upon entering, the bartender was walking toward me. It seemed like slow motion when he began to speak with… the dreamiest of all dreamy accents.
This would be Aldo, from Uruguay. I told him I lived in Buenos Aires and also traveled to Brazil while in South America. He then said, “You have the most beautiful eyes I have seen in two years.” Huh? Two years? Why the cut-off date? Two years ago someone with better eyes walked into your life? I’ll take it though, Aldo.
The Grove feels like it was pulled from NYC and placed in downtown Houston. Located beside Discovery Green Park, this Schiller Del Grande Restaurant has the ambiance of a thousand plus. The park is an added extra, not necessary to achieve the contemporary beauty The Grove maintains.
The wood floors and green décor throughout the restaurant bring an earthy feel to the atmosphere. The ceilings are high, with giant glass windows moving across the restaurant.
The bar and dining room are not separate. The openness reminds me of Del Frisco in the Galleria. The view is incredible, with breezy oak trees and kids playing happily in the park.
In comes the manager… Wearing a pink shirt, Rawad Semaan is good in every way. Personable and borderline chic, I heart him completely.
After winning the Bombay Sapphire GQ Inspired Bartender contest, his drink was featured in GQ Magazine. “Summer in Bombay” consists of Bombay Sapphire, grapefruit soda, sweet & sour, and sea salt.
Rawad began sharing details of the many drinks he has created for the specialty drink menu at The Grove.
While staring at Aldo (…it was an accident), I suddenly saw Rawan headed my way with a Pineapple Mimosa in his hand.
I sat speechless as he described it… Champagne with Skyy Infusion Pineapple Vodka & pineapple juice. He used the word dangerous in his description. Impressive!
The next creation to taste was the Clear Spicy Bloody Mary. It consists of Hangar One Organic Chipotle Vodka served with house made tomato water & basil. Rawan seemed especially proud of this miracle. So unique and different from the Bloody Mary we all know, this modern-day Bloody Mary will exceed your expectations.
Who is this bartender/manager/genius?
The chef sent out the Local Arugula & Fig Salad, served with blue cheese & spiced pecans. The combination of ingredients made this salad simple, but superb. The Local Arugula & Fig Salad has a different kind of freshness, to the point it seems fluffy. Yes, I said fluffy.
The chef later sent out a Goat Cheese Frittata for me to taste. The combination of herbs, tomato, and goat cheese, tastes light & healthy. The rotisserie potatoes served with this entrée are tasty. Overall, I liked the frittata, although the goat cheese seemed somewhat overpowering.
And last but definitely not least…
The Shrimp & Grits are served with a poached egg on top, leeks, tomatoes, and bacon. I asked for…no bacon.
I order Shrimp & Grits religiously when it is on any menu. I must say, this is the best I’ve had in Houston, with Branch Water Tavern being a close second.
Although I had so many different things to taste, I wanted to eat every bite.
For dessert, I was going to order the Bittersweet Chocolate Torte, served with fresh berries & pistachio crème. I decided to go with the manager’s recommendation instead…
The Banana Toffee Bread Pudding is served with brown sugar & dark rum caramel. I love when dessert doesn’t make me feel miserably stuffed. Although this may sound heavy, it completed my meal perfectly.
With a talented kitchen, a super star manager, and … Aldo, The Grove is the place to be for Brunch in Houston.
FIVE: High 5!
FOUR: Please & Thank You
TWO: Double Wow
ONE: Wow + Ouch = Wouch
A special thank you to Adam Richard, for taking the ever so important cloud picture for me this week!