Tucked away between the busy streets of Lexington Avenue and 63rd Street, taking a few steps down, this Belgian inspired café with its ecru honey distressed walls and rustic furniture lends air to old world charm.
One takes in the eye-teasing and belly tempting feasts of savoury soups, well crafted open-faced sandwiches, generously piled and beautifully displayed salads, artisnal breads, thirst quenching drinks and decadent desserts.
The light menus, stuck into hardened slabs of artisnal breads, contains a selection of specialties that includes Meditteraenean inspired meals too.
One has a choice of sitting at the center of the room, a large wooden communal table, that easily seats over 15, where people rub elbows, eat hearty food and participate in engaging conversations. Or opt for one of the side tables for two or four. In the back, there is even a small greenhouse room.
On this given day, we chose to share the Meditterranean platter and the Curry Chicken salad.
The Meditteranean platter arrived served on a huge plate filled with bowlfuls of organic hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh surrounded by a sampling of their hearty, artisnal breads (walnut raisin, rye and wheat) and marinated olives.
The Chicken Curry salad spread over small slabs of wheat bread, sides of cranberry chutney, greens and a cantaloupe arrived on its own small ceramic chopping board!
Of course, one must wash the job down with fresh lemonades! We ordered their organic mint lemonade (lemony intense yet refreshing) and the oh so tart Cherry Lemonade. It was like biting into a fresh bottle of just preserved cherries!
The portions are healthy and plenty.
Don't leave without trying their cafe au lait. Served in cute bowls. Oh how European! They also serve Harney Teas here.
Sure, this may be part of reknowned baker and chef, Alain Coumon's "franchise bakery," but don't let that get to you. The food, all scrumptious and eye-pleasing, is enough to bring you back time and time again. Of course, they sell fresh baked bread (displayed on wooden racks) here too.
Staff are friendly and helpful. Moderately priced ($7-$18).
One might stumble upon this casual spot for a quick meal but end up lingering over the luscious foods and ambiance; perhaps even imagining, for a brief moment, they are on some estate in the countryside of Belgium.