Houston food, restaurants and dining review. Urban living, travel, thoughts and other randomness.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Grotto Ristorante !

4715 Westheimer Rd.

It really bugs me that I like Grotto Ristorante so much. I'm not a huge fan of Landry's restaurants, and this is a Landry's restaurant, but the service is so good, the food tastes quite decent, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Throw in the reasonable prices to boot and you've got a winning restaurant... Damn.

The original restaurant was located further East in the Highland Village. The restaurant was originally a Tony Vallone institution (think Tony's Restaurant). For many years (over a dozen, but I don't know how many), Tony Vallone and his family ran Grotto and Griglia before selling both in 2003 to the ever-expanding Tilman Fertita empire.

Fortunately, Landry's didn't change the winning formula much. Antipasto on the counter, cheesecakes for dessert, quick service, and good food. We like ordering an antipasto plate with 4 items--especially the cheese items. We always ask to accompany the waiter as they pick out the antipasto.

This time around, as we do most times, we ordered some pasta. We had rigatoni with sausage. It's not great pasta, but it is very good. The pasta here in general isn't exactly brilliant (Da Marco's does it much better), but it is really nice comfort food.

We als finished the meal with biscotti (ask for extra) that comes with coffee and a tiramisu that was really very tasty--moist, creamy, not too sweet, and powdered to perfection.

We share dishes here (despite the split plate charge) because so much food comes with each plate. By sharing we always get a full three courses for not a lot of money ($50 with tip).

Grotto's is good. Many Landry's restaurants feel exactly the same to me, but this one has retained its Tony Vallone heritage. Bravo!

P.S. This is another haven for the rich and beautiful on certain nights of the week, though I haven't figured out which nights yet.


anonymouseater said...

I agree. Grotto is a guilty pleasure -- almost always better than it ought to be.

September 14, 2006

Huan said...

Here is another guilty pleasure: Pappadeaux

October 13, 2006

Anonymous said...

Grotto happens to be my fave - food, service, staff - all top shelf. Cheesecake is to die for.

December 25, 2006

Anonymous said...

The Grotto is still better than average, but it's a shadow of what it was when Jeff Vallone was running the place. On our last visit, the geniuses at Landry's had replaced the pancetta in a pasta dish with bacon.

Bacon. Amazing.

May 04, 2007


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