Despite having a blog for over four years, we’ve never reviewed the Grovewood Tavern, one the most respected establishments on our side of town. Sarah bought me the Cleveland Independents Deck for Christmas this year, and the coupon was as good an excuse as any to visit. This was perhaps our favorite meal we’ve had yet at Grovewood.
Although it’s a wine bar, Grovewood has a bit of a gastropub vibe. The outside looks like like a bar, and the dark wood inside clearly fits with the “Tavern” in its name. The year-round hanging white Christmas lights add a warm touch, especially on a winter evening.
We started our meal with the grilled Caesar ($7) and potstickers ($11). Grilling romaine is a great idea: the bittersweet caramel bite nicely offset the richness of the Caesar dressing. The portobello filled potstickers with lardons were somewhat reminiscent of Michael Symon’s beef-cheek pierogies. They were satisfying but not at all heavy.
To drink I had a draft Winter White Ale (Ithaca Excelsior, I think) that was crisp and hoppy.
For our entrée we split the Maple-Adobo Pork Shank ($22). The portion was quite generous with plenty of meat, vegetables and spaetzle. The initial flavor was maple caramel, not too sweet and with a hint of sharpness. After a number of bites, though, the spice of the adobo peppers clearly comes through to make for a complex, satisfying dish. The pork was fall-off the bone tender, and the vegetables were tasty and perfectly cooked to retain a bit of crunch. The brussels sprouts had a distinct horseradish flavor, which I really liked but Sarah did not. We asked the waitress about this, and she said there was no horseradish in the kitchen. After a quick Google search, we realized that this flavor is a naturally occurring, which means we probably should be eating more vegetables to get used to what they taste like.
We very much enjoyed the food, service and ambiance at Grovewood and look forward to returning. If I have any regret it’s that I didn’t order wine. The flavors of beer and food can play off each other very nicely, but the complex acids in most of the dishes we ordered seemed perfectly tailored for wine’s combination of tannins, sugars and tartness. They have a huge wine list with dozens of options available by the glass.