Optimistically Cautious

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"Is it dark enough yet?": Café Select

Before an 8pm curtain, May and I ducked into the downtown Café Select (10018-106 Street) for dinner. I went to the southside location for brunch on Mother's Day last year, and wasn't that impressed - while the restaurant had great ambiance, the wait for food was lengthy, and the portions were small. I was hoping dinner would change my impression of the eatery.

The dining room had the flavor of an upscale European bistro with gorgeous furniture (high-back leather chairs are a personal weakness of mine). However, the design of the space itself was slightly awkward, with an odd partition that ran down the middle of the room, and nooks and crannies that must have made it difficult for waiters operating on line-of-sight visibility to provide timely service.

The menu was impressively extensive (something I don't smile upon in every instance, but with enough edible variety, I couldn't complain). Though it was touch and go there for a while, in the end, nothing was standing between me and good old comfort food, which today manifested itself as a burger and fries (their version served with Coca Cola barbeque sauce).

It's really a shame the cooks thought I had ordered a side of grease to go with my meal, because it would have been a great burger otherwise (the smoked apple cheddar was heavenly). The Coke sauce strangely tasted like anything but.

For some reason, the staff deemed it necessary to dim the lights twice! I felt like Steve in that episode of Sex and the City, where a candle was necessary to read the menu. In this case, I felt the reasoning behind dining 'al darko' could have been their desire to disguise the glistening on my plate.

Still, with the most polite (albeit softspoken) waiter I've come across in a while, and a Sangria that just about knocked me off of my feet (just ask May), I wouldn't mind returning again to try the dishes I passed on this first time.

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