WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? SOBA SALAD IN THE GROVE
A pretty, noodle-based salad from the jam-packed D’jeet in The Grove. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
The apres-holiday crowd at the Grove in Shrewsbury must have been putting their gift cards to use, because the parking lot was crazy-busy.
It’s nice to treat yourself to a relaxing, sit-down lunch every now and then, especially on the weekend. And apparently, many other people in the area had the same idea shortly after New Year’s, because D’jeet was packed with diners fueling up for an afternoon of serious shopping.
Our hostess handed us a buzzer and suggested we do a little shopping while we wait for the next available table.
Plates of burgers, fries and condiments were swiftly brought to tables by a polished waitstaff. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
And let’s admit it: taking in sales at Anthropology and Pottery Barn is a much more civilized way to wait than sitting in a crowded vestibule.
Finally seated in the comfortable, plum-walled dining room with a partial view of the kitchen, PieHole read through the menu while keeping an eye on the waitstaff zipping by with plates filled of food that was as well dressed and pretty as the customers.
The menu features salads, sandwiches, burgers and dinner entrees. A salad offered as an appetizer for $14 or as an entree for $16 caught our eye. Rachel, our waitress, suggested the full size. We bit, and were so glad that we did.
A sizable bowl arrived, filled with tender but al dente soba noodles, studded with cashew nuts, sweet golden raisins, bits of ripe mango, avocado, and a crunchy slaw made from carrots and red and green cabbage. A light citrus vinaigrette brought it all together.
Casey Pesce, owner and executive chef is good at this: combining textures, colors and flavors in perfected preparation, then making the dish taste even better than it looks, even when it looks especially artful.
“It’s American food,” Pesce said, when asked about the influence of Asian and Italian on the menu. “A hodgepodge of ideas that come from all over. I’ve taken a little of this and that picked up in my travels.”
The Forest Mushroom flatbread pizzetta was covered with a variety of wild and common mushrooms, dabs of tangy goat cheese, thin fried onions and a hint of truffle oil. Though elegant in ingredients and appearance, we yearned to taste it on a chewier crust.
Now open for breakfast during the week from 7:30 until 10:30, D’jeet opens for lunch at 11:30.