The Place: La Jolla Groves, in the Shops at Riverwoods, at 4801 N University Ave #610, Provo, UT 84604
- Lunch/Dinner: Mon – Thurs / 11 – 9
- Lunch/Dinner: Fri & Sat / 11 – 9:30
About: Our first inspiration for La Jolla Groves came to us, late one evening, while visiting the Isle of Capri. We found ourselves dining under the canopy of a lemon grove, drinking garden-fresh lemonade made from the very trees we sat under.
Upon returning home, we longed to again visit that magical place, enjoying the vibrant tastes and alluring atmosphere of Capri. It was then that we determined to create such a place of our own. We partnered with a world-class chef and started on the adventure of building La Jolla Groves.
We worked tirelessly to achieve INSANELY GOOD FOOD using HEALTHIER INGREDIENTS, all at an affordable price. With our garden-fresh, wholesome food, kind staff & charming atmosphere among a grove of lemon trees, we’ve created a dining experience that transplants you to a starry night-out on the Isle of Capri. Source: La Jolla Groves website, http://lajollagroves.com/about.html
The ambiance: Sitting underneath a grove of lemon trees (artificial, of course) is actually a really lovely dining experience. It makes things feel a little more al fresco, a little more intimate. Everything about La Jolla Groves, from the flooring to the menus, indicates it will provide for you an excellent fine dining experience. I’ve been twice; the first time underneath those lovely trees, the second time in a back room without lemon trees (I preferred the first visit for a number of reasons). The back room admittedly felt a little like Olive Garden or Romano’s Macaroni Grill, since it didn’t have the personalized, unique touch of the front dining area.
The Munch: My husband and I went to La Jolla Groves with my parents; I’d been one other time and was so pleased with the experience that I felt certain my family would enjoy it just as much as I had. Knowing the pasta dishes and desserts were remarkably tasty, I stuck with that. For this review, I’ll extrapolate on all four orders, since I was lucky enough to taste each. We ordered:
- balsamic marinated stuffed mushrooms
- mushroom soup
- cheese tortellini with bacon and garden peas
- pair of beef tenderloin and chicken marsala sandwiches
- chicken pot pie
- lemon roasted chicken
We’re not really a family who orders appetizers, but when it comes to stuffed mushrooms, we’re generally more than happy to make an exception. While most stuffed mushrooms are smallish and filled with some sort of seasoned pork sausage, these were vegetarian-friendly, literally stuffed with fresh herbs, oodles of gorgonzola cheese that oozed with every bite, and served atop fresh greens tossed in a pesto oil, balsamic vinaigrette. These were the stuffed mushrooms to beat all other stuffed mushrooms. The cheese to mushroom ratio was probably about 2:1, which is entirely appropriate when it comes to … food, and the pesto oil, balsamic vinaigrette was light, fresh, and provided just enough sweetness to cut through the salty cheese and herbs.
Unfortunately, for the cost, we weren’t really provided with enough appetizer to feel anything short of slightly robbed. For $7.95, we got three stuffed mushrooms, and for that priced I’d hoped for at least four (since there were four of us) or, say, eight.
The mushroom soup was undeniably delicious and could probably make a believer out of any mushroom hater; it was thick, luxurious, and had an excellent mushroom taste. It was garnished with a basil oil, which added a good richness, and to top it all off, it was served in the most delightful little porcelain pot with a lid. If I return, I’ll order the mushroom soup.
All of the entrees were very good, although some were far better than others. The lemon roasted chicken, ordered by my father, was everyone’s favorite. The lemon sauce was nice and bright, clearly made with fresh lemon juice, but it wasn’t so acidic that you were left puckering your lips. The tender, succulent chicken was served atop some of the creamiest whipped potatoes I’ve ever had and alongside steamed vegetables. I think by the end of the night, the rest of us wished we’d ordered the exact same thing.
The chicken pot pie was less of a pie and more of a creamy chicken and vegetable filling topped with star-shaped phyllo dough cut-outs and came with a side salad. The filling was very homey and comforting, and the phyllo was crisp and light. The salad was fairly non-descript, but it was a side salad, so we didn’t expect much.
My cheese tortellini left something to be desired. My first few bites seemed extremely delicious; the applewood smoked bacon paired nicely with the sharp, salty fresh parmesan and the fresh garden peas, but the creamy tomato sauce had an odd aftertaste, and the cheese tortellini was akin to something you might buy out of the refrigerated case at the grocery store. I ate everything but wished I’d ordered something different (like, say, the lemon roasted chicken).
Husband ordered the sandwiches, which were the equivalent of fine dining sliders, and the flavors were intense and delicious. They came with a side of crispy, well seasoned hand-cut fries, which were probably the highlight of the entire meal. Sliders are, after all, just sliders.
For dessert we shared two; the orange creme brulee and the chocolate bundt cake. Admittedly, I’d eaten the chocolate bundt cake before, and it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever had. With a dark, rich molten center and a few drops of sweet (but not cloying) vanilla sauce on the side, it is the epitome of dessert perfection. The orange creme brulee had a sweet, citrus flavor and smooth, creamy texture. Both are must haves if you eat at La Jolla Groves.
Unfortunately, one thing overshadowed the deliciousness of the meal and the enjoyment of the ambiance: our server dropped a couple plates on my father’s arm. That, in and of itself, wasn’t too problematic (although salad dressing ended up all over his shirt sleeves and lettuce all over his side of the table). What left a bad taste in our mouths afterward was the lack of compensation. No discount on dinner, no free dessert, no certificate for a return visit. Although the server was extremely apologetic and attended to the situation very quickly, it didn’t entirely make up for what Husband and I considered to be bad customer service. If you drop dishes on one of us, we’d like a free dessert at the least. I don’t think this is unreasonable or out of the ordinary; I daresay most people would expect something similar.
The bill: Undisclosed to Husband and me, although I believe with tax and tip it hovered around $100. To cut down on costs, you can skip the appetizer and only order one dessert to split.
Total score: This is two-part for me. Had the evening gone flawlessly, I would have given them an 8/10, but given the accident, I have to rate them at around 6/10. I am undecided as to whether I will return.