B-day dinner at Garden Cafe
I'd like to take my fiancee here for his birthday...I'm reluctant because they do not have a website or post their menu anywhere online so I can't see if I'll like anything on the menu...if anyone has been here, I'd love to know your opinion.
Here's what Frank Bruni said in 2004
Its been a several years since Ive been but we found it a very civilized pleasant room - civilized in the way a stylish french provincial restaurant would be - flowers, adequate table spacing, good service and atmosphere conducive to sitting a while and having a conversation, finishing a bottle or two. In a sense it is from another time, because the restaurant and its concept have been there for maybe 25 yrs - They were really a pioneer restaurant in the area at a time when there was a very small audience for their work - my recollection is that at one point they closed then reopened, and have been going strong ever since.. What its not is one of those "hot" noisy NY places. The food matches atmosphere - mainly french influenced, very well prepared - they dont take risks with unusual combos, etc - that doesnt make it any less good. Dont know if this hellps.
There is a very small menu that changes every night. Nothing is terribly unusual, so I am pretty sure you'll find something to your liking. We have never been disappointed. It's our favorite spot for an intimate birthday dinner. Go.
I took my husband there for his birthday in September and we had the most amazing time. The menu is a three course prix fixe (but you can order a la carte). The wife/waitress was super nice and helpful. It is very easy to get a same-day reservation during the week, but I've heard it is very difficult on weekends.
Both you and your fiance will have a lovely time and a wonderful meal.
Garden Cafe has always impressed me. Perfect place for a low-key, romantic dinner. As already mentioned, the food is not cutting-edge but it's superbly executed. It reminds me of some of the best dinners I had while living in Munich, Germany or visiting my Grandparents in a small village in Northwest Germany. Quaint yet sophisticated. Never on the main drag but secluded in some nook of the old town. I should really go back there...it's been way too long.
Just to confirm all the other posts: My wife and I had dinner there last night before the BMA opening; our first time back in maybe 10 years. She had a green salad w. beets followed by trout fillet & a glass of chardonnay; I had pasta w/ artichoke pesto, then lamb tenderloins over risotto with a glass of cab. Wonderful meal all around, and both the cuisine and room decor have an old-fashoned feel in the best sense. This is what high-end American dining felt like, say, in the era of Craig Claiborne and Jacques Pepin. 10 years ago, before the Smith Street/Park Slope resurgence, Garden Cafe seemed a bit like the restaurant time forgot; now it's a welcome oasis of adult dining, without the hip or the hype. It instantly became our first choice for a grownup night out. And it's a perfect date restaurant.