Grove Hill is not so much a restaurant as a chameleon, the type of place that can simultaneously melt into its surroundings and stand very much apart from them. It's quaint enough to nestle into the tiny suburban enclave of Chagrin Falls yet so expertly executed that it could be dropped into New York City.
Likewise, chef and owner Tim Bando's culinary skills translate to food that is quintessentially Cleveland but somehow more, like the Beaux Arts Terminal Tower lit up in thousands of brilliant LED lights.
The Mediterranean-influenced menu skews toward tapas, allowing diners to try a handful of tastes rather than having to commit to a single entree. And while you won't go wrong with any of these, our favorite turns out to be a larger plate: the roasted half chicken ($23). It's fork-tender and not at all dry, with skin that's golden and crispy. The heady aroma brings you back to Sunday dinners at grandma's.
And unlike the everyday potatoes, peas and gravy you used to push around your plate, these ingredients get the Bando boost as the breast and thigh are carefully arranged with a trio of fresh, tender peas in butter, roasted fingerlings and a lemon-tarragon pan sauce.
"We're trying to straddle the line between fine dining and a neighborhood place," says Bando, a native Clevelander who spent the last decade in the Hamptons and New York City helping to open and run a slew of multimillion-dollar restaurants. "I'm fairly unpretentious, [but] I'm never
This hunger for more is helping to define our city's culinary identity. Rustic comfort food doesn't cut it anymore, and experimental cuisine is still just an experiment. So the restaurants that can surprise us while we're grounded in the familiar are the ones that win our hearts.
Grove Hill's garlic shrimp a la plancha tapas ($14), for example, may appear simplistic in approach with just a marinade of salt, pepper, oil and garlic.
But when the paprika-dusted shrimp are matched with a celery, piquillo pepper and manchego salad, it creates a swimmingly good seafood version of Buffalo wings, celery and blue cheese.
Try This ‡¨The duck confit small plate ($16), a buttery, crisp-on-the-outside leg of duck paired with the bright, fresh flavors of fava beans, preserved lemon, pecorino cheese and mint.