Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tarrant's Cafe - Our New Drug of Choice

Last night we finally had the chance to eat at Tarrant’s Café, located at 1 West Broad St. in the space formerly occupied by Tarrant’s Drug. We arrived before 7 PM without a reservation and lucked out in securing the only bar table (high table near the front door for two). And since this establishment is non-smoking (hallelujah!), we were quite pleased to be nestled at the bar table. After we were seated many a would-be diner who had not called ahead were turned away. The menu offered salads, wraps, sandwiches, and a few entrees and specials. The talapia stuffed with crabmeat and topped with a lobster sauce special ($18.95) sorely tempted us, but other less expensive menu items called us away. When we asked for the wine list, the hostess pointed to a hutch with wine bottles standing upright ready to be perused. Prices were on the bottom of the bottle. Slightly unorthodox, but I enjoyed examining the labels, years, etc. And we knew exactly what they had in stock. We selected a Red Diamond Merlot from Washington State ($17). This was not your typical California Merlot. This medium-bodied red emanated quite a bit of spiciness reminding me of a traditional Cotes du Rhone. To eat, my husband ordered a cup of the New England Seafood Chowder ($3.95) and the Tuna Nicoise Salad ($9.95). The chowder was very flavorful with an herby creamy texture and plenty of seafood. The salad turned out to be a bit surprising. A slab of medium rare tuna steak topped salad greens, olives, boiled egg, slices of cooked zucchini, and potato salad. My husband loved all of it except the zucchini (too mushy). I took the sandwich route and selected the Grilled Cheese Sandwich ($5.95). Once again, not your typical grilled cheese. I received melted white and yellow cheese, sliced ham, and bacon sandwiched between grilled Texas toast. I could have also have gotten tomato slices on my sandwich, but since I have an aversion to raw tomatoes, I skipped this option. I had a choice of sides – potato salad, pasta salad, of chips. I chose the potato salad. And I was delighted that I did because it was some of the best I have ever had. An oil and vinegar mix with a few mustard seeds, celery, and chopped parsley bound the potatoes together. Utterly fantastic! We had great food, at great prices, and in a place across the street from the Jefferson Loan Company Pawn Shop. I never thought I would enjoy a meal in this part of town. Kudos to all of the art galleries, restaurants, and businesses that have sprung up to make downtown a viable eating destination! To top off the evening we ran into friends from Williamsburg that we had not seen in almost five years. They enjoyed Tarrant’s Café as well. You should, too.


john m said...

And they have a brownie sundae for desert that is freakin' wonderful.

Phriendly Jaime said...

Good news, I will have to try it as I live a few blocks away. Have you tried Twenty Seven yet? We have been twice, once for lunch, and once for dinner. We enjoyed it both times, and although we smoke, the smoking section is really small (the bar, and 2 very small cafe tables) so you would probably be ok.

Happy eating! :)

tg4360 said...

I can't remember what it was but they had this ice cream/apple pie tasting thing that was crazy huge (fed both of us well) and crazy good.


pjpink said...

Wow! I will definitely have to try dessert! And Twenty Seven is on my radar. So many restaurants, too little time and money!