A Friday afternoon adventure, the Mr. and I had a mission in an area (Somerville, NJ) we had never been before and we were hungry. We happened upon a quaint street lined with businesses, parked and hoped for the best. We walked into the Phoenix Cafe (Google Plus Info on Phoenix Cafe) and hoped for the best.
We were seated quickly and given menus. I almost always try to order from the special listing when eating someplace new or for the first time. I have secret theories I am not willing to share for fear someone in the restaurant business will shoot them down with truth.
Once our orders are placed we have a chance to really take in the decor. While some may find the backs of colored paper placemats are not exactly modern art, they are a certain statement and we can appreciate it. To me, they say, "We love to take our children here. The food is good and not too expensive." It also says of the manager/owner, "We enjoy our customers and appreciate them more than fancy artwork. We want our diners to be comfortable and return."
I love this mix of old school feel and decor with a fairly modern menu. The business people are in and out. The Mr. feels they are a sure sign of a good meal to come. If the local folks want to eat here when they have a choice of many eateries, it must be decent.
The Mr. orders Manhattan Clam Chowder and though my meal also came with a soup, I just knew I did not have the room for a heavy lunch today. We had a mission to accomplish. I did try his though and it was classic in taste and the photo really represents the flavor. The potatoes were tender, the clams easy to find and the broth had depth (but a pinch too much salt).
For my meal, the "Baby Leaf Salad" which I imagined to be about 25% in size to the platter I was presented. I could have served this platter as an appetizer for my hungry (and manly appetite) family. The steak was not only plentiful, it was of a far better quality than I hoped for, nicely seasoned and tender. The mozzarella was creamy, the tomatoes tasted fresh as did the greens, roasted red peppers and mushrooms were supporting stars of the dish. My only minor complaint was the amount of dressing. As readers may know, I prefer my salad naked and should have asked for it with dressing on the side. My own error.
Readers may also remember I often tease the Mr. about being a chicken man. He almost ALWAYS orders chicken - in wraps, parmesan, marsala, grilled, in salad. He does enjoy the occasional French Dip sandwich though and that was today's choice:
I did not try his sandwich as I had plenty of beef on my own plate, but who can ever resist fresh, golden, and crisp fries? Not this blogger!
We walk back to the car and I am surprised to see a man dressed as a Lady Liberty. He holds a sign that simply says, "Income Taxes." I assume he is representing a preparer or accountant, but who can really say?
The sidewalks are cute and clean.
Time to head off to our destination. Time for Cinderella to have a new coach.
This morning I looked into the garage to be sure it is still there. I am feeling lucky and Fed Well.