Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More Fun Playing With Food at Grove Hill

It is unusual for me to post a second piece on a restaurant so soon after the first, but we had so much fun playing at Grove Hill in Chagrin Falls the other night that I have to share! Tim Bando's raw gem of a restaurant, which was less than two weeks old at our first visit, continues to refine itself into a jewel, and our experience reflected that. Their website is now fully functional, and walking into the restaurant, with a reservation this time, I noticed that the roses had disappeared from the front window bar seating area. Whereas the first time a few items were unevenly seasoned, all of the flavors Thursday night were spot on. And the best part is that Chef Bando spent a lot of years on Long Island's East End, and he knows fish and seafood, as demonstrated by some of our selections on both visits. 

Butter, Roasted Garlic, House Made Bean Dip
On our first visit, the roasted garlic was a little under-cooked; this version was soft and spreadable. The seasoning on the bean dip was completely balanced, and the butter creamy.


Our friend dove into the raw bar and had oysters for his appetizer. I didn't photograph them because I didn't eat them, but he assured me that they were superb; here's a link to his photo of his oysters. Our friend was impressed with the selection available, the product he ate, and the sauces that accompanied them. 

SMOKED SAUSAGE, pickled vegetables, grain mustard, crusty bread
Bob's appetizer was big enough to be an entree! Two large, crispy on the outside pieces of smoked sausage were accompanied by crunchy vegetables that lent acidic lightness to the rich meat. Chef Bando stopped by to chat with us, and said that this kielbasa-like sausage is made for him by Blue Ribbon Meats, a quality Cleveland purveyor that also makes the Bratwurst served at Michael Symon's B Spot restaurants. 

VEAL SWEETBREADS MILANESE, marinated heirloom tomatoes
The best sweatbreads ever! The meat melted in the mouth, the breading adding a nice crunch. Again, a light acidic accompaniment, the tomato salad, helped to cut and compliment the creamy richness of the sweatbreads and the a├»oli topped it off perfectly. 

GROVE HILL BURGER, lettuce, tomato, half-sour pickle, cheese, fries
Bob chose the burger. It was cooked to medium as he specified, and the cheddar was nicely melted. This was a perfectly serviceable burger and well suited to the fussy eater in your party, if you  have one (you know, the one who said "eww" when you explained what sweatbreads are). 

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE AMERICANO, parmesan, basil
Our friend made this dish his entree. My bite was a delicious combination of meat, tomato and pasta. Not sure why it's called "Americano," but that will give me an excuse to order it on a future visit. 

LINGUINI, jumbo lump crab, garlic, calabrian chile, lemon oil, parsley
I hit the jackpot with this choice. The lump crab tasted of sweet freshness from the sea, with no off flavors or smells as is often the case with Cleveland seafood. The chile was applied with care so it did not overwhelm the delicate crabmeat, and the prominence of lemon oil again showed off Chef Bando's skill with mating acid to rich ingredients to get the best of both. 

Even with leftovers to box up, we were all too full for dessert, which is a shame because they sounded delicious! Grove Hill has an in-house pastry chef making them, so next time, we will save room.

Chef Bando said the menu would be changing very soon (he says he has a short attention span), and even better, that Grove Hill would begin serving brunch on Saturday and Sunday August 23; they have a local farm set up to supply quality eggs for that. We look forward to playing with brunch at Grove Hill after the Farmers' Markets for the rest of summer and into fall!

Grove Hill is quickly becoming a favorite. Pristine ingredients and clever preparations combined with great service equals fun playing with food at Grove Hill.