Before I say anything else, get a Blackberry and Hazelnut Italian Soda…and the Spinach Artichoke Dip. By far the best Spinach Artichoke Dip I’ve ever had. La Jolla Groves has been around for three years now and is the brain spawn of Steve Hasler and Kent Andersen. Steve came up with the concept on a visit to Capri where he found himself in a restaurant in the middle of a lemon orchard. He tried to mimic the experience by creating La Jolla Groves. The restaurant has a really cool ambiance, and they had the ladies in mind while decorating. You know what that means guys, it’s a great place to take mom on Mother’s Day…or any other day for that matter. But they did tell me that they were going to do something special for the women this weekend, so I’d recommend getting a table.
Enough background information and on to the important stuff—the food! Kent has done a great job designing a menu with the help of his executive chef, Tom Meehan, that hasn’t really changed that much over the past three years. You know why? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Good food is good food, and La Jolla Groves is good food. Their appetizers are amazing. I already talked about the Spinach Artichoke Dip, but another to mention is the Caprese. I’m a sucker for a good Caprese and Tom and his team do it right. Massive fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and a creamy delicate mozzarella. I thought the tomatoes really stole the show. Tom gets them delivered fresh 5 days a week.
Follow the Caprese up with Tenderloin Medallions. You’d be doing yourself a favor if you got them prepared rare. This is a super tender cut with great flavor. Tom plates the Medallions with really tasty roasted potatoes, baby asparagus, and heirloom carrots. It’s all about the details, and none are overlooked with this dish.
If you still have room after the appetizer and entrée, I recommend the Berries and Ice Cream. I didn’t have a chance to ask Tom, but I’m pretty sure the berries were macerated in one of his desert wines. Either way, they had a great flavor. It’s a really light desert perfect for summer. It tasted like Scandinavia. That’s the best way I can put it.
La Jolla Groves is a definite must on your tour of Utah Valley’s food offerings. It might seem fancy, but they’re really laid back. Come in with whatever you’re wearing and the team will make you feel right at home. I promise you will leave satisfied. The food makes the restaurant, but the team makes the food. Give it a go, people! By the way, tell your server that Dave and Blake sent you and they’ll give you a free appetizer or desert.
To be honest I have always thought of La Jolla Groves as a nicer, sit-down restaurant worthy of some special occasion. Steve Hassler, the owner, assured me the intention is quite the opposite. He imagines La Jolla as a place that friends and family can go to and enjoy tasty food and the beautiful atmosphere on a regular basis. And yes, the dress code is strictly unenforced. That’s good news for both Hipsters and Zoobs alike (I’m calling you out, Mr. “Cargo Shorts Guy”).
Now… The food. As Dave mentioned, the appetizers are super tasty. Make sure to try the Grilled Summer Tomato Bruschetta, you won’t regret it! Fresh tomatoes and a nice basil-pesto makes for an awesome appetizer. Now this may seem weird, but I love a good salad, and at La Jolla Groves they make a mean one. Go for that if you’d like a lighter meal or to just start your meal off right. It’s a perfect dish for summer.
As far as entrees are concerned, I had the Cilantro Butter- Crusted Salmon. Holy cow! This was my first time eating a crusted salmon, and now I can never go back. Steve mentioned that the Salmon is one of the most popular dishes at La Jolla, and now I know why. The crusted texture made such a good contrast to the tender salmon meat and gave it an incredible flavor. Most people need to be eating more fish, so opt for this dish instead of red meat or chicken- you won’t be let down. Let’s switch it up a bit people!
For dessert: Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake. Let’s be real, just about everyone loves chocolate. With this dish there is plenty of that, and then some! This three layer dessert has dark, milk, and white chocolate layers all topped off with some chocolate shavings. If you’re a chocoholic like me, there isn’t even a question of what you’ll be eating for dessert!
BONUS: As Dave said earlier, mention that we sent you to La Jolla Groves and they’ll give you a FREE dessert or appetizer. That is an offer you just can’t refuse!
La Jolla Groves
4801 N University Ave #610
Provo, UT 84604
Blake McClary is a rising senior at Utah Valley University studying Marketing and Spanish. He currently serves at the Art Director of the UVU Review and the VP of Marketing for the Student Alumni Association. Upon graduation, Blake hopes to move on to work for a prominent marketing agency. In his free time he enjoys photography, the outdoors, and all things Hipster.