The Kitchen at Grove Station provides a dining experience unlike any other in Jersey City. Entrees are meticulously plated, flavors and textures are surprisingly paired, and otherwise common desserts are reinterpreted with bold new ingredients. The restaurant is upscale without being pretentious and inventive without being reckless. This autumn The Kitchen at Grove Station will celebrate it’s 1-year anniversary in Jersey City and if you still haven’t visited, you’re missing out on one of downtown’s most unique dining experiences.
The restaurant is situated away from foot traffic at the base of the Pershing Building on Marin Boulevard just off Columbus Drive. Decoration-wise, it has a very open layout with a spacious coffee and lunch counter upfront (coffee counter provided by ModCup). Toward the back you’ll find the dining area, which has a rustic-chic vibe that feels part hunting lodge and part French cottage thanks to an eclectic interior design that includes antler chandeliers, French provincial furniture, antique pots, and velvety booths. Most of the tables are well spread out and the noise level ranges from comfortable to medium, so you don’t have to worry about speaking up or overhearing your neighbor’s dinner conversation.
On my first visit I was very impressed by the food quality, service, and attention to detail. Portion sizes, however, felt small for the price. For instance, a scallop crudo ($17) I ordered was fresh and delicious, but it was too small to warrant a $17 price tag. Fortunately, by my third visit, not only had the menu changed (the Kitchen at Grove offers a seasonal menu), but so had portion sizes. For instance, a delicious broccoli salad ($11) came with generous portions of both charred and smoked broccoli drizzled in a light, champagne vinaigrette. My sockeye salmon entree included a healthy fillet of salmon sitting on a bed of creamed corn with grilled romaine lettuce.
Burger aficionados should try the Kitchen Burger ($14), which comes covered in a glass dome that not only looks cool, but also helps melt the cheese and keep the burger moist. This comes paired with a side of pommes frites.
The Kitchen at Grove also offers breakfast, lunch, and brunch. I tried the goat cheese and avocado sandwich ($11) from the lunch menu, which is pricey, but packs a delicious punch thanks to a thick tangy smear of goat cheese that comes accompanied with a buttery avocado, walnut pesto, and crispy bread. It’s currently my favorite lunch sandwich in downtown Jersey City.
Desserts at the Kitchen at Grove are simple and delicious. I ordered a chocolate souffle, which was served warm and garnished with a delicious raspberry sauce. If you’ve yet to try Modcup coffee, you’ll be happy to know they have an outpost/kiosk inside the Kitchen at Grove. On my first visit, our waiter took the time to explain Modcup’s philosophy on coffee and the importance of roasting your coffee beans fresh each day. However, on my third visit, our waiter wasn’t very helpful and didn’t even mention they offered dessert.
And that’s currently my only nitpick with the Kitchen at Grove. Service can range from friendly and helpful to downright inattentive. Mind you, our waiter was never rude, he was just absent. I had to ask what was on the dessert menu, I had to ask if they served coffee, and 30 minutes later I had to ask for the check. (I noticed he was equally slow with the tables sitting around me, although the restaurant wasn’t particularly busy that night).
Ultimately, that’s a minor complaint, since service had been very attentive on my previous visits. Another plus is that the restaurant is BYOB and apparently there’s an app that the the restaurant has partnered with to have a bottle of wine delivered to your table. (Alternatively, your closest wine shop would probably be Village Wine on Grove Street off Morgan.) It’s pricier than average for downtown and some plates are smaller than others, but the inventive food combinations and quality of food are what make The Kitchen at Grove Station such a wonderfully unique dining experience.
(First image via Kitchen at Grove)
The Kitchen at Grove Station | 299 Marin Blvd. (btwn Newark Ave & Wayne) | www.grovestationkitchen.com