The Grove on the corner of Hayes and Franklin is open for business. This is the fourth Bay Area location for Ken Zankel and his talented wife Anna Zankel who designed each of the restaurant’s interiors. The executive chef is none other than Jeffrey Saad, host of ‘United Tastes of America.’
This beautiful, spacious location with a modern southwest feel is slated to be an instantly busy and popular neighborhood eatery. The Grove not only serves breakfast, but will surely cater to the Civic Center lunch crowds as well as countless Opera House and Symphony Hall patrons.
The menu is comfortable from start to finish, just like the process of scratch cooking they tout. It stresses high quality, healthy ingredients, and it includes three great soups.
The first is a wonderful French onion soup made with shallots (yes, shallots) in lieu of traditional onions. The shallots are caramelized for about an hour until they have a deep dark color and achieve a sweet flavor. Then, they are hit with a splash of sherry, and added to a rich beef stock. The shallots and stock are topped with a chewy slice of Sweet Batard Bread and baked in a crock that is topped with an irresistible piece of bubbling Gruyere. It is finished with a garnish of fresh thyme. This signature soup is nearly a meal in itself and comes highly recommended.
The second soup is a hearty vegetarian chili. It is zesty, colorful, and filling. The ingredients include the unlikely addition of crushed Bulgur (which gives it body), kidney beans, thick slices of zucchini, carrots, celery, onion, and chunks of tomatoes. It is topped with a blend of jack and cheddar cheeses, a large dollop of sour cream and garnished with slices of crunchy green onions.
The third soup is a vivid and rustic tomato basil bisque. It is made with pureed tomatoes, carrots and celery, which are added to minced garlic, onions, and shallots (the latter three giving a nice texture to the soup), finely diced basil, and cream (which makes it a bisque). It is flavored with salt and pepper and served with a slice of crispy Sweet Batard Bread from Semifreddi’s as a perfect dipping accompaniment.
Be sure to visit one of these Grove locations, you won’t be disappointed:
Hayes Valley: 301 Hayes Street at the corner of Franklin 415-624-3953
SOMA: 690 Mission Street (between Annie and 3rd St.) 415-957-0558
Pacific Heights: 2016 Filmore Street 415-474-1419
The Marina: 2250 Chestnut Street 415-474-4843
For the chef’s website, visit www.jeffreysaad.com.