Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: The Grove Cafe & Market - Albuquerque, New Mexico

I used to have a lot of business meetings at The Grove. The location is ideal; it's close to me during working hours, and pretty centrally located for anyone that wanted to meet during lunch. It's on Central Ave. as your headed into downtown. I absolutely love this place. The decor is beautiful and the food is divine (does that sound pretentious?).

The restaurant has been open since 2006.According to their website the owners, Jason and Lauren Greene, are "bringing the community a team of professional, high energy, food savvy individuals that have one common goal in mind…to serve the highest quality food products while focusing on a neighborhood friendly environment.  We create and offer the best food experience in the city, and never forget to connect to our customers." They also proudly serve local and organic produce, as well as all-natural meats, breads, and cheeses.

I just started a lunch club with my new friend Meredith and old friend Chuck. The three of us are foodies, and love to explore new places. Visiting the Grove was our second outing, the first being Scalo Northern Italian Grill, which I had written about it before so it didn't dawn on me to bring along my camera for the event.

We got there early to avoid the usual lunch crowd. I highly recommend that you try and get there before or around 11:30 or after 12:30. Lunch hour is a killer and you will wait in a long line to order and a long time to get your meals. There was a pretty decent crowd when we arrived, but it wasn't to bad. We had to wait a little while to order since there were some older ladies holding up the line with indecisiveness and A TON of questions. Also, there was only one counter open (they have 2). The menu is written on a huge chalk board above the registers, so it takes a while to spot exactly what you want. I think that this adds to the indecisiveness that people have there, but I wouldn't change it. After we ordered we found a table right away, and our food came out very quickly.

I ordered my favorite favorite salad in any restaurant in any town, the chopped salad. It has lettuce, bacon, avocado, blue cheese crumbles (or maybe Gorgonzola),  grape tomatoes, turkey, and egg. It's usually served with a homemade ranch dressing, but they have this lemon basil dressing that is amazing so I get that every time instead. The flavors of the fresh crisp vegetables mixed with the sharpness of the cheese and light lemon flavor of the dressing make my mouth jump for joy with every bite. Looking at the picture above is making me salivate, and sadly we won't be going back anytime soon. Lunch club has already made it's choices for the next 3 weeks!!!

Both Meredith and Chuck ordered a sandwich called The Beef; thin sliced housemade all-natural roasted sirloin, caramelized onion, arugula, horseradish crème fraiche, whole grain mustard, Havarti on sourdough. I wanted to ask for a bite, but was scared of the reaction I may have recieved...It looked delicious. It was served with fresh fruit and sweet pickles on a metal sheet pan. Very nice presentation.
The Grove also boasts some of the best homemade cupcakes in town. They are amazing! Meredith got a Coconut and a Chocolate one for her husband (later, she told me that when she took a bite she let out a huge "ummmm," I thought that was funny and definitely the right reaction).While I was tempted by the Red Velvet ones, I resisted the urge! It was so hard to walk away from the counter without one, but I've been dieting and working out regularly and I just couldn't do it.

I highly recommend visiting the Grove for breakfast or lunch; breakfast is served all day. They also have an amazing brunch on Sunday's...or maybe they have the same amazing breakfast menu. I 'm not sure, I thought I had read that somewhere though. There wasn't any information on their website about it.

The prices are a little high, BUT since you are guaranteed a delicious natural and organic meal it's totally worth the splurge.

Grove Café & Market on Urbanspoon

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