Tapas at the Grove Grill

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After three nights in a row of cooking dinner, I was ready for a night out. So Tony and I headed for the Grove Grill, our neighborhood favorite, to check out happy hour and the restaurant’s new tapas menu, served from 3 p.m. to closing.

Chef/owner Jeffrey Dunham credits chef Josh Perkins with developing most of the tapas menu, and what a lovely assortment of small plates it is: a dozen choices priced from $3.50 to $7 and ranging from simple (Pamela’s rosemary cashews) to more complex (pickled shrimp on griddled johnny cakes.)

After a glass of Santa Julia malbec, I settled on these three: crispy calamari breaded with Panko crumbs and served with Asian-style dipping sauce, fig and gorgonzola flatbread garnished with fresh thyme (the figs are reduced in port, so good!), and Black Forrest ham croque monsieur, a warm and rich ham and cheese dipped in egg and grilled in butter.

I love eating tapas, because it’s a fun and affordable way to experiment with new taste combinations. Plus tapas encourages trying new wines, which brings me back to happy hour: 20 different wines, $5.50 a glass, served from 4 to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Just be sure to grab a table in the bar, because happy hour specials are not offered in the dining room.

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