|6317 Bee Cave Rd.
Austin, TX 78746
Creating a restaurant in Westlake that lasts longer than two years has been to say the least, problematic. They don’t call Westlake the Bermuda Triangle of restaurants because places tend to thrive there. But Reed Clemons, as he almost always does ignored the naysayers and created an SRO phenomenon on Bee Caves Road just west of Highway 360 called The Grove.
This is a casual little neighborhood spot where there is very little pretense on display. The atmosphere is fun and the food reflects the free-wheeling style. I like what they do with the Bruschettas. Normally this dish will feature grilled bread diced tomatoes, some mozarella and maybe a dash of basil. But The Grove delivers an entirely new take. I love the one they do with sausage, peppers, and goat cheese. Great idea, great flavor. Or the chicken liver pate with bacon and sage. Are you kidding me? This rocks. Or the blackened shrimp, arugula, and tarragon. Wonderful flavors and beautifully innovative.
The small plates at The Grove are an intriguing and inviting selection of tastefully crafted little works of art. They virtually scream out for a nice glace of Chardonnay or Pinot Noir to go along. I really like the Moroccan sampler. I mean what’s not to like about smoked red pepper hummus, tabouli, tzatziki and cucumbers on grilled flat bread? Every ingredient is nicely integrated creating a beautiful flavor profile. And the Grove Love Sampler is their spot-on version of Charcuterie. From the chicken pate to the three artisan cheeses and the oh-so-plump olives this is a great noshing dish that’s best shared with your companions. Barley Swine’s Bryce Gillmore seems to have reinvented the Brussel sprout and The Grove has come up with a terrific version. The caramelized onions and the fresno chili just light this dish up. And try the Rock Shrimp Fritters. The green onions, spicy red pepper jelly and fresh mushrooms are the perfect complementary items for the shrimp and the flavors are very satisfying.
The Pastas and the Featured Plates are among other things, what drive me back to the Grove. There’s a dish that reminds me of Reed’s classic Granite Cafe from the late 80’s (and arguably the best restaurant in Austin in that period) called the Bow Ties with Grilled Chickens and Sauteed Red Onions. The gorgonzola-rosemary cream sauce binds this together beautifully. It’s a must order for me. As is the Fettuccine with fresh Prosciutto and Mushrooms. The al dente pasta along with fresh peas and a garlic cream sauce combine to create a dish that offers irresistible flavors. Another favorite is the Grilled Scottish Salmon served over saffron orzo. You couldn’t ask for a better pairing of ingredients on this one. And the 8 oz Pepper crusted Beef Tenderloin is a pleasure palace of flavors that would have delighted the Kubla Kahn himself (apologies to Coleridge). And what could be more special than the Sausage Lovers flatbread featuring fennel sausage, roasted peppers, goat cheese, and flavors that will awaken whatever lies dormant within you. Trust me on this. My favorite pizza at the Grove.
The Grove has a great outside deck build around a giant Oak that just magically attracts sippers and noshers. And the inside’s not bad either. So Reed Clemmons has done it again. I have to say that given his track record, I’m not surprised.