One of my favorite areas in Downtown Delray definitely has to be Pineapple Grove. It’s small, quaint, and full of great restaurants, lots of which have outdoor seating (perfect for people watching!). One of the places I’ve been dying to try along this strip is The Grove. Its kitchen is tiny, the dining area is cozy, and the menu is full of seasonally fresh dishes that change almost daily.
I went recently to celebrate my friend Lauren’s birthday. Despite us having such late night reservations, the general manager and our waiter were very accommodating and extremely personable, and the chef even went a little above and beyond to make sure the three of us had a memorable experience.
I started with a simple salad. Except that it wasn’t simple at all. It had greens, fennel, grapes, almonds, feta cheese and a green apple vinaigrette. Lauren and Michelle shared two appetizers, which of course I had to taste: a creamy risotto with lump crab meat and porcini mushrooms, and a “salad” of golden and red beets on top of an avocado puree and crème fraiche. I’m all about colorful food; this plate of beets was certainly that. These starters were all bursting with great flavor, and made us pretty happy with our decision to come to The Grove. But the real shining star of the night came next…
The Catch 22 of being one of the last seatings at a small restaurant is that by the end of the night, some of the dishes are no longer available. You see something you really really want to get only to be told by your waiter that they’re all out. That’s the negative. The positive? You see something you really really want to get only to be told by your waiter that they’re all out. But now the chef can have some fun and improvise with what he does have. We were very pleasantly surprised with something that wasn’t on the menu; a kind ofmishmash of a few different things from other entrees combined to make one simply amazing dish. Crispy triple tail fish on top of a smooth and silky sunchoke puree, accompanied by truffled gnocchi and sweet yams. Each one of these elements had such amazing flavor and texture, but it all came together perfectly on one plate. Lauren, Michelle and I ate every last bite in almost pure silence. We were too busy making “good food” noises and savoring every morsel of food.
No birthday dinner is complete without dessert. Duh. Lauren chose the cinnamon walnut monkey bread with a maple-caramel glaze and salted caramel ice cream. It’s mandatory to end the night with something sweet when you’ve just had a dinner as unique as this one, and this totally did not disappoint. The Grove is a great date-night place; its intimate setting is perfect for a romantic dinner. But it works for a small girls’ night out place too. It isn’t loud and obnoxious, and there is definitely a specific type of crowd dining here. It’s upscale without being too elitist. Although a little on the expensive side, you’ll see why after tasting the food. And if you’re lucky enough to have the chef create something extra special for you, well then, it is definitely worth it.