Based on an expanded menu, I decided it was time to revisit Blue Grotto, the very popular pizza spot in Brookside. When it first opened, the menu contained a few salads as well as the star attraction, but it now has an interesting list of small plates and a large number of $5 antipasto selections as well.
It’s hard not to get pizza, so we skipped the bruschetta, the lamb sliders and the gnocchi and roasted salmon. Though tempted by the glazed pork belly, we took our server’s suggestion to try the arugula and garlic salad, with artichokes, almonds, goat cheese and roasted garlic vinaigrette. It was fresh, crunchy and the dressing had a good bite. It was much more successful than the Baby Octopus small plate with mussels, calamari, mint and chiles on arugula, which was sounded good but was, frankly, tasteless.
At Happy Hour, pizzas can be made half-sized at half the price. While this does not present a financial savings, it does give diners an opportunity to sample more pizzas on the menu. Four of us tried four–the Caprese, the Margherita, the Salsiccia and the Quattro Stagioni. The crusts on each were chewy and flavorful, and the toppings plentiful. No complaints, but I do prefer Pizza Bella, Spin and Jake’s Bella Napoli. Their pizzas just seem to have more oomph, and the crusts on the Pizza Bella pies just can’t be beat in Kansas City. Just look at the pictures of those other pizzas, they tell the story. (To be fair, Blue Grotto’s are mini-pizzas, but I didn’t think the full-size ones tasted appreciably different.)
On a Monday night, the restaurant was pretty empty, but I like the look of the place. They also have a great outdoor dining space, complete with a fire pit and comfortable seating.