Cafe Was

I have been remiss in writing about my other major Thanksgiving weekend culinary experience. Friday evening I had the pleasure of dining at Café Was for the first time. My uncle had mentioned that his family was going there to celebrate my cousin’s 21st birthday. He indicated that they had been there before, so I expressed interest and started asking questions, as I had been considering going there for my 25th birthday earlier this year. They graciously invited me to go along with them to celebrate my cousin’s birthday.

To my complete surprise (although it really shouldn’t have been such a surprise if I had any brains to look up the address) I discovered it was located in the Sunset and Vine complex, next to the Borders. Who knew? I should have, as I’ve been right on that corner enough this past year. Ah, well.

When we walked in I was surprised at how small the interior was. The place is pretty spread out though – which is kind of neat. It really does kind of feel like you’re walking into a house. The bar is off to the right; nice, elegant, and dark. The main dining area has a piano, or as it was Forty Deuce night that night, a drum set, in the middle that revolves. Tables and chair kind of circle the centerpiece. Then, up a few stairs, additional seating lines two sides of the room, which is where we sat. You have a nice view looking down, and I imagine it provides a little more privacy. Before being seated, however, we all took to the bar. And my cousin had her “first” drink. ;) She had a gin and tonic. Good, solid choice. I followed suit.

Now onto the eating portion of the evening. My relatives raved quite a bit about the bacon-wrapped, blue-cheese stuffed dates. They did not disappoint. Nor did bacon off my aunt’s salad – which may or may not have been maple-glazed, but was very, very good bacon nonetheless. I think she took pity on me, as I was the only diner at the table not to have ordered a first course. The birthday girl got their soup of the day, which happened to be pumpkin bisque. I now need to find a superb recipe for pumpkin bisque. Seriously. I’m not kidding here. It was perfectly creamy and smooth and its taste was reminiscent of canonical pumpkin pie, yet it wasn’t too sweet and had other flavors. I guess my lack of detail here is what I get for writing about it two months later. Two months minus one day actually. Anyway. We also split the what I believe was a carpaccio dish, but I can’t remember and the only raw steak appetizer on their current menu is steak tartare. That comes with olive tapenade, and I don’t remember olives in the dish I had, so that’s why I’m hesitant to say the table shared that. Either way, I did enjoy the raw beef appetizer. I feel like maybe it had horseradish…? Okay, I really have to start taking notes and/or writing closer to the eating. Bad food blogging practices! Ah, well. There will be a next time. ;)

Bacon-wrapped date

Then our entrees came. The birthday girl got salmon, my aunt and uncle got steaks – which they say are always good, and my other cousin got the scallops – I was debating between those and what I did actually order – the duck confit. Sadly, I only tried the scallops and the duck confit, so I can’t attest to the other dishes, although I heard no complaints. :) The scallops were cooked perfectly. Those are definitely a strong contender for my next visit. They’re served with lobster tail Yukon gold mash and pork lardons. Definitely a contender for next time. Now for the duck confit. I was a little apprehensive truth be told. I wasn’t too impressed the first time I tasted duck confit, nor when I made duck for Obama’s inauguration (part of the Lincoln-inspired menu). But duck is something somewhat different for me. I’ve tasted it at least a few other times, but hadn’t had much of a chance to really savor it. I like trying new things, even want to pride myself on being willing to try new things, especially food-wise, so I had to go for it. So? I liked it. I really did. Especially the somewhat crispy skin. The flavor wasn’t too strong. Now I don’t know if that should be seen as a good thing or a bad thing for duck or duck confit, specifically. I felt there was a tangyness to it, which I liked. The berry gastrique was a great complement to not only the meat, but the whole entree. I wish there had been more. I also especially enjoyed the watercress salad on the side, and thought the forbidden black rice was good, although I’m not the biggest rice fan. If my memory serves me right, the whole dish had a good balance of flavors that all went really well together.

Duck confit

The meal ended with housemade beignets being brought out in honor of the birthday girl. I think they came with a chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Again, write closer to eating, write closer to eating, write closer to eating. Either way, I wasn’t overly impressed with the dessert; it was probably my least favorite and least memorable aspect of the meal – not to say it was bad, just not something to write home about. Ha. Ha.

I’m glad I was able to finally dine at Cafe Was, and very glad that I was able to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. Food and family just go together. :)

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