Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dinner at A Cafe on the UWS. (I'm not being vague, that's just its name.)

For those times when you want to eat something fun yet also satisfy your vegetarian friends who live on the UWS, let me introduce you to A Cafe.

This French Caribbean restaurant is tucked in a strange part of UWS where you think the world ig going to end as you keep walking, but it doesn't.  

The restaurant is small and simple.  Between 6-8p, they offer a 2 course deal - your choice of any appetizer and main course on the menu for $25.  Easy decision.  (Do it.)

We did !

Among the appetizer options is the Scottish pheasant pate, baked with a brie crust and a sprig of rosemary to add a bit of merriment.  This dish is remarkably addictive, the pate more chunky than smooth and completely decadent.  

The grilled Hass avocados were also merry with rosemary, each half transformed into a vegetable terrine swimming in a shitake-sesame dressing.  The result was surprisingly savory.

The Bourgogne escargot were fat and chewy, served in a tasty cilantro-chili butter sauce.  The escargot were fairly uninspiring, but the sauce, tinged with spice, was earthy and good, enabling me to single-handedly eat a basket of bread.

For the main event, sprigs of mint adorned our dishes.  Cute!  We dabbled in the wild mushroom ragout, with tofu, Caribbean beans (read: blackeyed peas), and loads of alfalfa sprouts.  So many sprouts that you cannot see anything else in the dish, which is fun, and a clear indicator this is vegetarian (what a relief!).

Rabbit sausage come three fat links to a plate circling a half dome of fluffy quinoa speckled with raisins.  Such a generous serving, the sausage tasted surprisingly light(er) in the carrot-ginger and cashew puree.  And not the least bit gamey, if that's any concern!

The jerk spiced-duck leg confit, in a citrus reduction, was delightfully spicy, the sauce so rich and delicious.

When we first seated at 7p on a Friday night, the restaurant was completely empty, however it filled up soon after 8, buzzing with lively conversation among friends.  This place is a true gem with warm, attentive service.  And oh - BYOB!  There's a wine store across the street - the clerk there recommended this $9 red wine that was supposedly going to make our escargot float to a beautiful melody.  The escargot didn't float, but the wine was fine !

Han's Nonsensical Rating: A Cafe wasn't heartstoppingly amazing, but it's quite good with its tasty, tasty sauces and reasonably priced.

A Cafe
973 Columbus Ave
New York, NY

A Cafe New York on Urbanspoon