The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen
A great wine guide, good eats, Reed Clemons hits West Lake
Reviewed by Wes Marshall, Fri., March 7, 2008
The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen6317 Bee Caves Rd., 327-8822
Sunday-Thursday, 11am-10pm; Friday-Saturday, 11am-11pm
Over the years, restaurateur Reed Clemons has operated some of Austin's favorite Downtown places, like the Bitter End Bistro & Brewery, the B-Side bar, Mezzaluna, the Granite Cafe, and Capitol Brasserie. Those are all gone now, and Clemons has moved to West Lake for his latest creation.
The Grove is a wine bar, restaurant, and wine retailer all balled up in one. Wine prices at the bar are very reasonable, certainly lower than most restaurants, and all of the wines are available to take away at a price just slightly above what you would pay at a good wineshop.
Clemons hired Matt Berendt, the man who ran the wine program for Emilia's, to develop the 250-plus-bottle wine list (50 of which are available by the glass). One of the best ways to roam the list is to go through one of the 10 wine flights. You get a trio of 3-ounce pours based on a theme. My favorite is flight two ($12), which allows you to taste the remarkable impact of the lands and climates of New Zealand, California, and France on the Sauvignon Blanc grape.
I'd be happy drinking any of the wines on Berendt's list, and though he's trained his staff well, it's always worth asking if he's there. He's one of the best in town at helping you discover your perfect wine.
The food is reminiscent of the finest and simplest dishes from Mezzaluna and the Granite Cafe. Pastas, panini, and pizzas cover half the menu. Clemons is offering one of the best vegetarian pizzas I've experienced, called the Don't Have a Cow ... Man! ($11.50 for a medium, $14.50 for a large). My favorite dish in the house is the bruschetta. They have nine different varieties; you pick three, and they bring them out on a wooden platter with a bowl of olives. The plate costs $9.50, and it, along with a couple of glasses of wine, would make a very nice snack or small dinner for two people.
We've been lucky in Austin with the sudden proliferation of exceptional wine bars. The Grove is right up there with the best in town.