Horrific Service, Weird Menu,Arrogant Manager.
We had a 7:30pm reservation, arrived on time and were seated upstairs in a back room. After 20 minutes no one showed up to the table. At 30 minutes waitress came over asked if we wanted to see a drink list. At 40 minutes wine list came. At 45 minutes wine came to table with dirty glasses. We asked for new glasses and the server disappeared. I had to go ask for the owner or the manager to beg for any service. At this point we should have left. While I went downstairs to demand some service, my wife observed dinner plates being served to the wrong tables. Matre-D came up to ask if anyone had taken our order yet, she was shocked but did nothing about it. When I approached the manager to complain, he asked, "what would you like me to do sir?". DUH!
The goat cheese appetizer salad and tempura shrimp roll were good, but the dinner turned into something very weird. My wife ordered scallops. Thinking this was a healthy plate which was advertised with asparagus, and truffles. It showed up with asparagus hanging off the plate and to my wife's dismay, a whole deep fryer basket of french fries! What kinda combo is this? I had the Gemeli, and the shrimp was disgusting. It was as if they re-used shrimp from a previous dish as the shrimp was not of usual expected texture but mushy and actually dark in color. In short the dinner was gross, and the service was an abomination.
With an economy like this, lose the tude, get some service, and fire the chef, you will not be in business much longer with memories like this that are shared with the community. A positive is that the bar seemed very well stocked and had 4 big screens and seemed busy. Our Wine bottle was comped, but honestly this did not make up for a stressful start to what was a much needed stress-free dinner.
If this is the alternative for restuarants in Yardley, or a Stark restaurant in Philly, forget about it. This place will be gone if it does not get serious about running a restaurant properly.
Overrated and overpriced. But where else to go in Newtown?.
The Grotto is Newtown's answer to Steven Starr, the Philadelphia/New York restauranteur. When I first visited The Grotto 2 weeks after it opened, I was intrigued to see that it was marketing itself as a hip alternative to all the Italian restaurants in Newtown/Yardley. It has a prominent bar, hip but historic interior, and attractive young hosts/hostesses. Its location on the main drag of Newtown makes it an easy spot to walk by and stick your head in, even if just for a drink at the bar. But my being impressed with The Grotto pretty much stops there. When I ate there with three friends, there were more typos on the menu than in a 10th grader's English paper. When we brought it up with the waiter, he explained that the restaurant was aware of it and that this was just a draft copy; the final menus were being printed. WHAT? The desserts and appetizers we had that night were delicious, though, and we soon forgot about menu mishap. The 2nd time I ate at The Grotto, I ordered the same dessert as the first time, but this time it was still frozen in the middle -- apparently they don't make their own desserts and order them from somewhere in New Hope. My dessert apparently hadn't defrosted completely. But, the appetizer that I ordered -- a succulent scallops in rich, creamy mushroom sauce -- was still divine. All was forgiven. The 3rd time I ate at The Grotto, this time with my husband, he ordered their "Rapini" pizza, which is simply broccoli rabe, garlic and hot chilies. When my husband noticed there were no hot chilies -- the only reason he wanted the pizza -- and asked the waiter about them, he was told that the hot chilies were just red pepper flakes, and he was offered a handful of them. My husband was appalled. The 4th time I ate there, they had taken off the popular scallops appetizer. And now their menu is more boring than when it first opened. It's too bad The Grotto cares more about how it appears than how it functions.