Diners anticipating the opening of The Grove, the upscale Mediterranean restaurant featuring acclaimed chef Jose Manuel Lopez Picazo, can mark their calendars with a late August opening at Cabin John Village, its operators say.
The Mediterranean-focused eatery, at 7747 Tuckerman Lane, is a concept by Virginia-based Common Plate Hospitality group. Common Plate is also behind The Heights food hall coming to Chevy Chase. The food hall, at 5310 Western Ave. Suite A, will comprise eight stalls of varied cuisines, as wide-ranging as Mexican to Indian.
The Grove will lean toward the tastes of coastal Spain, said Chad Sparrow, a Common Plate group partner.
“We’re going for very floral, higher end, an amazing wine program, as well as an amazing cocktail program,” he said. “Very high-end food really focusing on seafood, that Spain vibe with a few twists.”
The menu will include paella, lobster ravioli, whole fish branzino, an octopus dish, halibut, ribeye and a variety of soups, salads and fritters.
Chef Jose Lopez-Picazo, a native of Spain, has been conceptualizing The Grove’s menu with Common Plate Hospitality since December.
“The Grove’s menu was very easy to develop because Chad is already pretty knowledgeable about Mediterranean gastronomy,” Picazo said in an email. “We are [lucky] we agree on many things on the menu. My cuisine is obviously influenced by Mediterranean cooking, but my experience here in the U.S., working in many kitchens that are different than mine (like Peruvian and Japanese) has given me a broader vision to create dishes that blend the different cuisines.”
Lopez-Picazo has over two decades of culinary experience, including helping Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas earn two Michelin stars, the Five Diamond Award from AAA, and the Outstanding Restaurant award from the James Beard Foundation under his leadership. His culinary skills have been recognized with multiple awards including Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator Magazine and Best Tapas from Desert Companion and Vegas Seven, according to The Grove website.
Picazo said the menu will have dishes from Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco and France, with some being “very classic and endemic to some of the countries.” Dishes include seafood paella from Spain, Buffalo burrata from Italy, sea salt baked Dorado from Greece/Spain, day boat scallops from France and charcoal Mediterranean vegetables from Morocco.
The 3,500-square-foot eatery will seat about 180, including its large outdoor patio. Inside, flowers will cover the ceiling and trees are built into the restaurant. The space will feature bright, vibrant colors with pink, purple and white floral arrangements.
Sparrow said the fine dining concept filled a gap they saw in Cabin John Village.
“We really felt that there was not a lot of higher-end, Michelin-star level food and service [in Cabin John Village],” he said. “… That’s why we wanted to come and try to create something where people wouldn’t have to go all the way to D.C. to get their fine dining experience.”
Filling that gap is also what aligns the upcoming concept with the focus of Common Plate Hospitality, according to Sparrow.
“We’re very big on kind of creating what the market needs,” he said. “We really look at where we’re going, what deal we make and location we’re going to and what that area needs.”
When the restaurant opens at the end of the month, it will start with dinner only and then add brunch and then lunch over time, Sparrow said.
The overall goal of the upcoming establishment is to provide a quality upscale dining experience to the Potomac community.
“I am very excited with this project. My team and I are really pushing boundaries and putting a lot of energy to it,” Picazo said in an email. “Our hope is that people from Potomac can be proud of having a great, quality-driven Mediterranean restaurant they can enjoy. We are thrilled to [be a part] of this community and we are confident we will not disappoint.”
Cabin John Village management could not immediately be reached for comment Friday afternoon.