La Grotta fails to delight our discerning palates

Josh and I checked out this new Italian place within Mission Market last night. The whole experience was eerie, starting with the overeager bystander/good Samaritan ushering us forcefully around the corner onto 22nd toward the entrance. We walked down the tiled hallway into an expansive dining room (35 tables or so) that was completely empty. La Grotta is not really cavelike (it’s officelike) but it is cavernous. Another patron walked in with us and tentatively sat down at one of the bar tables, but he bailed, which is no easy task in a restaurant with audible pin drops. Josh and I soldiered on.

No booze yet, so we tried the water. We started with the Mesa Platter because it’s damn impressive looking. Unfortunately the meats were tres lunch-meat and the vegetables tasted like vegetables. The bruschetta was very good, well-toasted and nicely garlicky.

Josh had the eggplant lasagna and I had the spaghetti and meatballs. The water line in my bowl was around 67% of capacity. The sauce tasted good, nice and basily, and the pasta was cooked reasonably well. The meatballs were bland and the consistency of matzo balls. Josh found the eggplant bitter and the lasagna ok, but who can trust him, he’s just getting over a cold.

I take no delight in disparaging an unpretentious Italian restaurant in the neighborhood; if it were even pretty good I would eat here every day. Cheap Italian is rarely mastered. Josh’s suggestion was that they offer $2 drafts from 6-9, which I agree might be the ticket to Bean-Bag-sized success.

On the upside, nothing was gross, the service was good and the place was clean. And most of all, I was so full that I could hardly get through my beer half an hour later, which actually sucked because everyone else at the Attic was wasted.

Oh and they had this really good hipster boxing show on the T.V., so that was a plus.

24 Responses to “La Grotta fails to delight our discerning palates”

  1. pillowfarts says:

    Why does this food look so gross?

  2. jacobe says:

    Valencia Pizza & Pasta can never be beat!!

    • GrizzledMission says:

      In the Mission’s Worst Brunch category, I agree wholeheartedly.

      • jacobe says:

        I would say Nappy Tander wins that award along with many others before VPP is even mentioned…

  3. Fuck this says:

    If anyone in SF cared to visit they would taste something worthy. As a native from NYC, it’s on par with Lombardi’s or Grimaldi’s.

    • D. Jon Moutarde says:

      It sounds like Nick is looking for a nearby, reasonably-priced everyday option, possibly for lunch. On all of these counts, your recommendation fails (it does look delicious, though).

  4. marco says:

    They could do a lot of work on the presentation. That stuff looks yuck.

  5. D. Jon Moutarde says:

    Too much oil on the antipasti, that’s for sure it should be served on the side. Sauces are too thin, meatballs too small. Nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little attention to detail.

    • MrEricSir says:

      It’s more than that… everything at La Grotta seems like it was ripped out of a package and dumped onto a plate. There’s a couple items on the menu that claim to be homemade, but you’d be pressed to tell the difference.

      If I didn’t know better, I’d assume it was one of those 60′s-era Italian joints that just never quite moved into the 21st century. But this place opened a couple weeks ago.

      • D. Jon Moutarde says:

        Unless you’ve actually eaten there yourself (if you have, you might want to say so), that’s saying a bit more than you have a right to say, given Nick’s crappy pictures. If you have eaten there, please tell all.

        • MrEricSir says:

          Dude, just THINK for a second. How would I have been able to say any of that if I hadn’t eaten there?

          (And no, I won’t be going back.)

          • D. Jon Moutarde says:

            Well, your comments were lacking in specifics about the dishes, so I wasn’t sure if you’d actually sat down and ate, or if you’d just given it the once-over and walked out.

        • Captain Obvious says:

          why don’t you just shut the fuck up.

  6. MMA Nerd says:

    The ‘hipster boxer’ is Mike Chiesa, the winner of the Ultimate Fight 15 Finale. Ironically (or perhaps unironically?), he shaved his beard after the fight.

  7. Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

    I’m sticking with La Traviata.

  8. No fish today says:

    looks nasty, i’ll stick to stonetown’s olive garden