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.
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.