The Grove, located on 65 Court St., is one of the newest restaurants in Downtown Binghamton. The restaurant mostly serves American food, such as burgers and sandwiches, but also offers interesting twists that keep these dishes fresh and exciting. The Grove opened up this past May, and offers high-quality food at a reasonable price. During Restaurant Week, a three-course lunch is $12 and a three-course dinner is $25.
My photographer Harry and I went to The Grove on a quiet Tuesday afternoon. We were pleased by the atmosphere of the restaurant, as it was classy and clean. We chose seats next to the front window, giving us a nice view of Downtown Binghamton. The relaxed ambiance definitely added to the meal because it made The Grove feel like a safe haven from the busy and bustling life of a Binghamton University student.
For our first course, Harry ordered the caesar salad and I got the garlic bread. Harry was quite pleased with the caesar salad, as it featured crisp romaine lettuce in a delectable caesar dressing. The garlic bread was also quite delicious, featuring a twist on the classical Italian-American dish. Rather than top the garlic bread with mozzarella cheese, The Grove instead added pico de gallo and a Mexican cheese blend. This surprising twist paid off, as the tomatoes, onions and cheese melded with the garlic bread without overpowering the garlic flavor.
Moving on to the second course, I ordered the primavera. The pasta dish featured perfectly cooked penne pasta that hit the al dente range of still having a bite to it while not being raw. The dish also had a delicious creamy cheese sauce that added a richness and flavor profile to the penne. The only downside to the primavera was the lack of vegetables, as there were a few pieces of spinach and mushrooms, but not as many as one would like to go with the amount of pasta that was given.
For his second course, Harry ordered the crispy onion burger. At first glance, we were both struck by the sheer size and height of the burger. The onion rings stacked inside the burger gave it an intimidating appearance, and Harry had to remove some of them in order to be able to eat the burger. He noted that the highlights of the burger were its luscious bun and onion rings, which provided a good variation from the typical burger. The onion rings added a nice crunch to the burger, and the fact that the burger came with so many was a nice addition as well.
The third course, dessert, was probably the highlight of the meal. Harry got the carrot cake, which was an excellent conclusion to a great meal. The cake was moist and flavorful, with the spices not being too powerful. The cake also had a good ratio of cake to frosting, as many cakes have too much frosting that overpowers the actual cake. Furthermore, the caramel drizzled on top of the cake was a nice touch that tied the whole dessert together.
For my dessert, I ordered the cheesecake, but it was not ready yet, so I had to settle for their chocolate brownie sundae — although this is not technically on their Restaurant Week menu. However, the brownie sundae was incredible, including a generously sized brownie with vanilla ice cream, caramel and whipped cream. The brownie was the perfect balance between cakey and fudgy — sure to please any brownie lover. The ice cream was also delectable as its coldness served as an excellent companion to the warm brownie. Both the brownie sundae and carrot cake were delicious endings to satisfying meals.
On the whole, our experience at The Grove was a pleasant one due to both the welcoming feel of the restaurant and the excellent food. Make sure to stop by The Grove before Restaurant Week ends on Sept. 22 to try their piquant takes on classic American dishes.