restaurant review: Cafe Twenty Eight

2 Nov

On a recent Tuesday night, I got together with two of my gal pals for pedis and dinner out. My pal Meghan suggested Cafe Twenty Eight because she had heard good things about it.  I had heard the same good things and Amanda had been there once years ago with good results. Sounded like the perfect evening. Who doesn’t like pedis and dinner with awesome friends?

So, the pedis were great and the company was spectacular, but let’s get to the food. I look for three things at a restaurant; atmosphere, service and of course, the food. For me to be completely satisfied all three must be on target. Here’s how Cafe Twenty Eight fared.

First the atmosphere. It was lovely. It’s a small cafe in the cute Linden Hills neighborhood. The lighting was nice and the whole place just felt cozy. Thumbs up.

Service: the hostess was very nice and accommodating. The dining room was full, but she put a table together for us in the hall which was awesome because it was super quiet – and still cute.  Our server was okay. She wasn’t too interested in us but that was fine since we wanted to talk to each other. She didn’t really care that we did not finish our meals and when we said the food was fine, that was good enough for her.

Food: Ehh. This is where the disappointment settled in. It wasn’t that it was bad. It was fine.  It’s just that, we were expecting more than fine. It wasn’t exactly cheap which leads you to believe the food will be above average. It wasn’t.

Note: I did attempt photos, but discovered a flaw of the iphone (I know!). It does not take good photos in dimly lit dining rooms.

I started with a 1/2 Beet Salad. Here is the description: slow roasted beets on a bed of arugula,
toasted walnuts, Donnay goat cheese, Black Mission fig vinaigrette.

Classic combination.

What I got was  a few beets with a pound of arugula on top. I like arugula as much as the next guy, but this was a bit much. Again, it was fine. I ate it without a problem. But I could make the same thing better on my own.

Next I had the Spanish Chorizo Oven Crisp Pizza: Manchego cheese, Spanish chorizo, sautéed onion, almond Romesco sauce.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? I love everything Spain and this sounded like the perfect pizza.  Before it arrived I was already envisioning how to recreate it for my upcoming Gourmet Dinner Club.

However, then it arrived.

Soggy crust,  dripping in grease and overcooked chewy chorizo.  The flavor was okay but I could not taste any hint of almond and to be honest, it was hard to get passed the greasiness and the chorizo. They did not skimp on the chorizo but I wish they would have. It took about 5 minutes to chew one little chorizo coin.

How did the other diners fair? Meghan had the same pound of arugula salad I did plus a cup of their daily soup, which she said was okay.

Amanda went with the pear salad and the house-made Gnocchi. Both were announced as okay, but nothing to write home about.

So, if you’re looking for a cute place with okay food and higher prices, this is the place. However, there are so many fabulous places to eat in this town, why settle for okay?

I must say that Cafe Twenty Eight is just not that great. I will not be rushing back anytime soon.

——————————–

ETA: Anne here…I’m going to leave a couple additional thoughts in the comments.

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7 Responses to “restaurant review: Cafe Twenty Eight”

  1. Carin November 2, 2009 at 10:08 am #

    Good to know, my cross that one off the list.

  2. anne November 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Jen- I was very sorry to hear of your poor food experience at Cafe Twenty-Eight. This has always been a solid go-to restaurant for Pat and I (although we haven’t been there in awhile, so maybe things have changed?) We’ve always enjoyed their food and have been pleased with their service. While I wouldn’t describe their food as ‘the best’ I’ve ever had, it’s always been consistent, tasty, and fresh. So, very disappointing to hear that you guys had a not-so-stellar experience. Hopefully they were just having an off night.

  3. Weezie November 3, 2009 at 12:17 am #

    My husband and I have eaten at Cafe Twenty Eight many times. When I stray from my usuals I am usually sorry, because like Jen said, I could have made better myself and paid a lot less. The pork adobo has always been fabulous for us. Also, I have had their pizza of the day a few times and it has always been delicious, so sorry about your bad and long chorizo experience:) Ever tried http://www.128cafe.net? It has always been really, really good food for us. It’s in a basement/lower level, but don’t let that scare anyone away:)

  4. Fav Sista November 3, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    Never been there. We do not get to the big city diners very often. Those would be planned special occasions. We do owe a couple a night out to their choice of restaurant so that needs to be scheduled and I believe we will be able to review that choice – how fun! Let’s do that in November.

  5. Megsp November 3, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    yeah… I have had better food at whole foods salad bar for half the price. just sayin.

  6. Jackson November 3, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    Never been there and probably won’t put it at the top of my must try list based on what you said about the food. Have you been to Cafe Maude? Yum!

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