The Phantom of the Opera would find this a suitable haunt for entertaining dinner guests, amongst the shadows. A tawdry woman swirled in oils held court beneath chandelier prisms and exposed pipes covered in bloody red. The far wall, made up entirely of wine, had customers "bobbing and weaving" the wait staff as they leaned in to grab necessary vintages.
(photo courtesy of http://grottorestaurant.com/dinnermenu.html)
I'll document here that my appetizer special won "best first course ever." Duck meatballs with foie gras ravioli made this milestone easy to name. The decadence was only enhanced by the addition of cippolini onions and port wine reduction. Mussels and clams (fresh, fresh, fresh) had a subtle broth highlighting the seafood. Beet and goat cheese salad reminded me of a Chip-wich with a thick baseball of goat cheese between two hearty slices of beets.
For entrees, steak was served with a parmesan risotto that was so creamy, it resembled mashed potatoes. Butter= happiness. The lamb osso-bucco was tender and shredded easily, but didn't have much flavor. Neither did the large white beans served with it. The spaghetti and meatballs were worthy of savoring, but could never override my duck version. The pre-ordered, individual apple pie made us order when hungry and eat when full. The crust was a little heavy for my liking, but that didn't mean I left any on the plate.
Besides the food being stellar, there's something I like about a place where the worst seat in the house, a scrawny corner under a heating duct, is somehow the most romantic.