I'll start by saying that the terrace at the Grove Park (Chops) could be the most spectacular setting ever. Too bad you have to eat.
Host staff could not have been nicer. Seated us near the end of lunch service and gave us a table right at the edge of the terrace. Waiter was the opposite. I asked to start w/ a glass of wine. He says red or white. I say, probably white, but I'd like to know what you have. He says Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc. I wait expectantly. No further details. I ask if I can see the list. (There were probably a dozen choices) Waiter hated me from that momment forward and was extremely curt the rest of the meal. We had to ask the busboy for my husband's drink after about 10 minutes, and when a fly flew in my water, again we had to ask the busboy to take it away. More was not forthcoming. I guess it's your responsibility to mind your water. Weird.
Bread was your basic frozen roll from PYA Monarch or the like.
Spinach salad was exactly that: baby spinach, halved cherry tomatoes, and a vinaigrette that might as well have just been called vinegar. $9
Sandwich billed as Apricot chicken w/ pastrami on Foccacia was your basic they-bought-it-somewhere chicken salad (did they fold in some Apricot preserve? who knows) topped w/ grocery store pastrami and served on the most hideous dried-out excuse for focaccia I've ever seen. Made Panera Bread Co. look like Balthazar Bakery.
Husband's appetizer was described on the menu as citrus vodka marinated, goat cheese stuffed olives. There were 3, on the plate w/ salad greens. His steak sandwich was open-faced and required large amounts of surgery to find pieces that were not fat or gristle. There was a round of extremely poor quality "fresh" mozerella on top.
Our bill was $70. Fortunately, that included the 15% gratuity that was already included. I don't think I've ever seen that done for a party of two before. There was a line for "additional gratuity"..we got a pretty good chuckle out of that!
We have had a nice buffet breakfast at Grove Park before, and so, even though I had always heard that the food at GPI was nothing to write home about and way overpriced, I did not expect total crap. There is NO WAY I would ever go to their "premeire" restaurant Horizons, nor will I return to Chops unless they would let us sit on their terrace for drinks only. I seriously doubt that a rest. which would use such poor-quality ingredients at lunch would be any better at dinner.
BTW, Dinner the night before at Zambra was great as usual, and we ran into the chef the next morning at the Organic tailgate market...a good sign in my book. Jerry Seinfeld gave a great show at the Civic Center.