Annabelle Goodman —
I am always so grateful when a friend recommends a new restaurant. What a great dining experience and a new adventure! My friend S. and I are determined to discover all the great new dining spots in town. We like low key. We appreciate good atmosphere. We insist on fine food lovingly prepared. Hurray for Barista & Chef. I love the name. Barista, Hednor, has worked in many restaurants in town with his childhood friend, Elton, who is the chef. They both originally came from Albania but have cooked and worked together for many years. This is a team that really creates together. Hednor works the front of the house. He seemed to know most of the clients by name. That is a recommendation itself. I plan to return soon to test some of the barista specials listed on the board. Our sample of fine cuisine on this evening will bring us back for a lunch or brunch. How is it possible to cook every day and keep up these fine standards? Hednor and Elton, you are quite the team!
The warm bread and homemade hummus was a great start. We then shared the Roasted Beets Salad. Words do not come to mind to adequately praise the flavors and the presentation. Baby spinach, roasted red and orange beets, scallions and goat cheese were enhanced with delicate tasty vinaigrette. It was superb. A young couple on the way out stopped to praise all the dishes they have enjoyed here. They told us to try the Warm Spinach Salad on our next visit. Mushrooms, red onion, bacon and parmesan all add to the superb combination. We did consider the Pears & Gorgonzola with baby arugula, candied walnuts and gorgonzola. Perhaps next time. The Chicken Livers with a port reduction was also praised by the couple at the next table. I always learn a great deal from a conversation with another client.
Several Appetizers called out to us. Calamari with tomato chili chutney is always a favorite. Lemon Feta Shrimp is served with cream, fresh herbs and crostini. Eggplant Parmigiana is prepared with white cheddar, bread crumbs and basil.
My dining companion opted for the Rainbow Trout. It was served pyramid style with a large portion of roasted potatoes and a citrus salad. It looked like a picture and was most appreciated from a gourmet perspective. Braised Lamb Shank is served with caramelized onion and red wine/ demi and scalloped potatoes. 8-10 oz. NY Strip Loin with gorgonzola cream and scalloped potatoes is guaranteed to fill any starving client. I opted for my favorite Pasta dish, Shrimp and Linguine. Capers, roasted garlic, chili, anchovies, olives and tomato sauce made for a rich flavorful sauce. The shrimp were plentiful and plump. The pasta was al dente. I couldn’t possible finish it all but certainly gave it a good try. All of the other pasta treats looked appealing as well.
We wanted so much to try the Flourless Chocolate Cake. We will be back. We laughed at the gentleman at the next table. He had his priorities straight. He stated that he had to have a piece of that wondrous cake and then build his menu requests going backwards. I can relate to that.
Barista & Chef has it all. It is all economically friendly. The service is charming and efficient. The food was outstanding. On a warmer evening I would like to try the large patio.