bread, butter, balsamic and oil

Country Cafe 69 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012 is a relaxed little place where people seem to linger for hours. They managed to fill up just until they were full and then no one else arrived. They didn’t even turn over tables that night (Tuesday) but that seemed to be their normal rhythm. With only one waiter, the service can seem slow at times, but no one seems to care, as the regulars are planning to hang about for most of the evening.

As I waited for Monica and Peter, my two favorite but always late people, I was thankful for cold water in a chilled glass. I scanned the specials on a sidewalk chalk board and then Peter arrived. Monica sent a text (not a good sign). Eventually, we got to eating, splitting a generous pile of Beet and Roquefort Salad. The candied apples were a flaccid disappointment, but they were easily ignored while eating the soft yet firm beets with crumbly blue cheese.

Beet and Roquefort salad

The French Onion Soup was nice, the sweetness of slowly caramelized onions, against a mound of warm stretchy cheese.

French Onion Soup

Unfortunately, entrees fell flat. My Mussels a la Moroccan was very one-dimensional in flavor, which is not what I had envisioned for something made in a Moroccan style. Some of the mussels were sad and shriveled, but the plain cous cous was light and fluffy.

Mussels Moroccan style

Then, I tried some of Peter’s Fish Tagine, which tasted of just plain tomato. So I correct myself, mine must have been two-dimensional, although still very boring, but Peter’s was definitely one-dimensional. Monica had a Grilled Chicken Salad that I didn’t taste.

Fish Tagine

We split the Creme Brulee for dessert mostly because we saw another table get it. The waiter puts on a great little show of caramelizing the sugar at the table.

Creme Brulee 1 Creme Brulee 3

He then pours liquor on the plate and sets it on fire. As the fire burns, it causes the edges to bubble, and then eventually disappears. The center is cold but the edges are hot, otherwise tasting exactly as you’d expect of creme brulee.

Creme Brulee 5

The cappuccino has a nice hint of cinnamon.


Despite the sincere warmth of our water and a few pretty good dishes, I have a big problem with Country Cafe.  Their entrees were really disappointing and quite over-priced at over $20 per dish. It ended up being $40 per person, without any alcohol, and Monica didn’t even order a real entree. For $40, I’ve got a long list of better places.

posted by jessica at 09:24 AM Filed under French, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.