I am a long-time resident of Kailua and often visit restaurants to spare the wife having to make the evening dinner. We usually keep to Kailua Town and decided to try The Grove because they offered a dinner groupon. So, before heading to the Opera, we decided to cash in our groupon and save a few bucks. Unfortunately this was not the case. We were informed that the groupon could only be used Monday thru Thursday. I found this interesting because most people wouldn't visit The Grove during a weekday because it appears to be a high end restaurant. We ordered anyway. The waitress seemed nice and provided us with recommendations for dinner. My wife ordered the Opah with mashed potatoes and assorted vegetables. I decided to order the beef and cabbage soup and a li hing mui margarita as a cocktail. About 5 minutes later the waitress arrived with the cocktail which I thought was rather small in comparison to other places I've drank at. The margarita was very watery and didn't produce the tart alcohol taste I expected in a margarita. I finished the drink and didnt order another. A few minutes later the waitress brought a basket of bread and tomato basil dip. It tasted great and we finished the basket. The dinner items arrived about 15 minutes later and my wife immediately sent it back as it tasted cold. The inside of her fish was nearly ice cold and the potatoes were warm at best. I tried the dish as well and she made a good tempurature call. The waitress kindly took the plate back and had the chef make a completely new dish. The second dish had the perfect tempurature. Unfortunately all the food had little to no taste. The fish tasted like it has been lightly seasoned with garlic salt and placed on a keawe grill. Nothing fancy! The beef and cabbage soup that I order had a nice tast too it and which I had the wife finish. She wasn't happy at all with the food. I expected more.
Here are a few initial recommendations and observations that I think you should know if you decide to eat here:
1. The restaurant is dimly lit and great for pupus and social gatherings.
2. Expect the bar to be packed with locals, not of Polynesian decent.
3. Suggest making a reservation but usual accommodating
4. The overall temperature within the restaurant is pleasant. They do have ceiling fans if it gets too hot.
5. Parking can be a problem on the weekends. I would suggest parking at McDonalds, grabbing a burger, than meet your date.
6. Don’t order any fish keawe cooked as it’s lightly seasoned and will taste like fish jerky. Suggest ordering the shrimp cocktail or prime rib.
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