There was a time in the not-so-distant past when dining out options in Groton largely involved deciding between pepperoni or extra cheese.
Thankfully, those days are gone and the Groton area now has a number of good dining options within just a few minutes of the town center.
Now you can add the Groton Station House menu to that expanding list.
It’s often good to see a historic building repurposed rather than razed, and in this case the restaurant has a fascinating history. The impressive brick structure was initially built about a century ago as an Odd Fellows hall. The town bought it in 1940 and turned it into a fire station. The construction of a new firehouse in 2014 made the building available for private use.
These days, the space accommodates nearly 200 customers and includes a large and inviting bar/lounge area as you enter, along with a large rectangular dining room. [Please note that at the time of online publication, Groton Station House has just re-opened and is was offering special services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please call or visit their websites for updates.]
It’s a casually upscale spot. When we visited, there were gentlemen in sports coats and young adults in sneakers and jeans. Neither group looked out of place. Along with the soft and neutral colors that dominate, the light and burnished woods give the place a comfortable and contemporary colonial feel.
The menu offers plenty of options. There is also a nice wine list, and I enjoyed the playful way some were listed: “Lively & Fun,” “Earthy & Minerally,” “Bold & Spicy.” It’s a smart way to make ordering wine less intimidating for the inexperienced.
The Groton Center farm salad ($6/$11) was an encouraging start, a mix of local greens along with beets, cheddar, two kinds of berries, and a cleverly subtle honey champagne vinaigrette.
The wild mushroom torte ($14) was a generous order of sauteed wild mushrooms in a light puff pastry with shallots and garlic, and a tomato-based demi-glace. Though I prefer my wild mushroom dishes less adorned, much thought and effort went into the dish.
Groton Station House obviously takes pride in its steaks. Even though only four are featured, they have their own menu page, along with a list of possible sauces, toppings and add-ons.
Attractive options include melted blue cheese crumbles ($3) and an au poivre sauce ($4). The 12-ounce New York strip ($33) was perfectly seasoned … and prepared as requested. I wouldn’t want to add anything to mess with it. Generally, I always need to request salt and pepper with a steak to give it the kind of flavor jolt I like. Not this time.
The lobster risotto ($33) was also a welcome addition to our table. Gluten-free and vegetable-based, the creamy, generously proportioned dish featured risotto with shrimp, lobster, corn and spinach. Sometimes I wish that I’d brought along a magnifying glass to find the lobster bits in similar dishes. This time there were big chunks of lobster in the tasty platter, along with plump shrimp.
Our server was eager to please and informative. He had suggestions about menu items to consider and, well, not consider … and I liked that.
Desserts are hardly an afterthought at Groton Station House. In some ways, they were dinner highlights. The red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting ($9) was exactly what a red velvet cake should be, but rarely is — rich and velvety and full of flavor. The shaved chocolate garnish was a savvy bonus.
The milk chocolate mousse ($8) featured extravagant Belgian chocolate with a white chocolate bark. I am normally a dark chocolate guy, but I would order this again in a minute.
The building might have begun its life as an Odd Fellows hall, but there is nothing odd about what’s going on at Groton Station House these days. It’s a gratifying addition to the Groton culinary community.
Groton Station House