I had dinner at Grotto Friday night. We were the last party seated, around 9:15. My conclusion overall -- this is a good restaurant but the expectations from this board are too high. There are better values out there in my humble opinion.
To break it down in order of appearance:
Space/decor - actually not as bad as I expected. Very small space, but quaint. Not as tacky as someone had told me. If you don't like to be close to your fellow diners, Grotto is not for you.
Server - average. Bread came late, hesitant when recommending wine, didn't really listen to our questions. But it was late and he was very pleasant... just not helpful. (Except on the desserts when he was spot-on with his recommendation.)
Wine - no great values to be found although they have some nice selections. We had a Torrebianca which was nice.
Appetizer - I had the pan griddled buffalo mozzarella which was rich and delicious. The fondue won big raves...
Entree - the bacon-wrapped, apple-stuffed duck was okay, but not special. The bacon was not crisp enough, which detracted from the dish in a major way. The slow-cooked leg was much better. The often mentioned gnocchi with short ribs was great - get this if you go!
Desserts - the bread pudding was the star. My warm apple crostata was cold - it was late so I didn't send it back but I would have normally.
All in all, the food is good but not great. With a bottle of wine (split four ways) and a nice tip, we spent $60 per person. There are 3-4 places I'd rather spend that much money. I will give it another chance because we ate so late, but I'm not rushing back.
When I go back, I think we'll share three dishes and one dessert -- that is plenty of food for two people. With a couple glasses of their cheap wine, you could escape for about $35 per person.