I walked into the empty restaurant, and it took me a minute to adjust to the scene. I swear I heard the dull sound of crickets chirping and had to snap myself out of my disappointment, which was only made worse by the cookie-cutter cuteness of the decor. Had someone come here in advance to prep the space for some kind of cheesy, by-the-books, marriage proposal? or maybe a bridal shower? Why was Frank Sinatra blasting over the cushioned banquets and pastel carnations? Was today Valentine's day?
Next surprise, the menu. I expected the dishes to be a fusion of these two culinary worlds. Not so much. Instead, expect entirely Italian fare, with the exception of three Korean dishes.
I ordered one of them. The seafood pancake.
Next, mussels and clams in a tomato sauce with chunks of garlic and tomato. I am partial to the white wine, butter combination for mussels, but this was better suited for the cold night and was very good. The presentation was clean and modern.
For dessert was the polenta cake with roasted ﬁgs and poached pear.
I felt the experience was a little too contrived, and it seemed desperate. There are some stellar dishes on the menu, but the ambiance is not my scene. It felt like I had decided to eat at The Grove, but not even the tourists showed up.