Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Restaurant Review: Café Noir

I was back in New York again this weekend, which is always a lovely change of pace from small-town Connecticut. Ari and I went out with a few of his friends to one of their favorite places, Café Noir in Soho. Neither of us had ever been there, but it ended up being a wonderful choice. Being a Friday night in New York City, it was of course very crowded and we had to wait for a bit for a table. The interior was pretty dark, with kind of a Moroccan/French café feel.
We decided to let Ashley and Jimmy take over since they had been there before, and started off
with a few appetizers. The tuna tartare was fantastic, mixed with tomatoes, and topped with fried tortilla strips. The hummus was pretty good, topped with feta cheese and served with grilled slices of pita bread. The spicy lamb meatballs were also excellent, with just the right amount of spice and served with tzatziki sauce and cucumbers. Last, we had the calamari à la parilla, which I had never tried before. It was delicious -- lemony and fresh and buttery, grilled instead of fried. After all of that and a pitcher of their well-known sangria (also delicious), Ari and I split the Valencia paella, which was fantastic. I haven't had paella too often, but this is definitely the best paella I have ever had. The rice was perfectly cooked and seasoned, with just a little spice. It was mixed with mussels, shrimp, chicken, and chorizo sausage. Everyone else got different burgers, which they said were very good as well. The french fries were pretty good, larger-cut but slightly on the soggy side.
Of course, when I thought I couldn't eat any more, we got dessert. The five of us shared the crème brûlée and the chocolate cake. I have never had crème brûlée that can rival my mom's, especially at restaurants where you risk the top being soggy, but I have to admit this was pretty delicious. The chocolate cake was fantastic -- soft and melted in the middle with the perfect amount of chocolate. This was accompanied by a macchiato for me, the perfect end to a wonderful meal. I will definitely be going back.

Café Noir is located on 32 Grand Street in Manhatten. It is a little on the expensive side, at least for us college students, but their menus and more information is available on their website at
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