Two-dimensional Navier-Stokes simulations of heat and momentum transport in an intermittently grooved passage are performed using the spectral element technique for the Reynolds number range 600⩽Re⩽1800. The computational domain has seven contiguous transverse grooves cut symmetrically into opposite walls, followed by a flat section with the same length. Periodic inflow/outflow boundary conditions are employed. The development and decay of unsteady flow is observed in the grooved and flat sections, respectively. The axial variation of the unsteady component of velocity is compared to the local heat transfer, shear stress and pressure gradient. The results suggest that intermittently grooved passages may offer even higher heat transfer for a given pumping power than the levels observed in fully grooved passages.