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May 12, 2009 10:58 AM

Cafe Via in Birmingham, MI?

Has anyone tried Cafe Via in Birmingham? I'm looking for a place in the Birmingham/Royal Oak/ Ferndale area for a birthday dinner. I'm a little hesitant to go there (even on a weeknight) because there's a no reservations policy.

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  1. Wow, I haven't even heard of this place! Where is it?

    1. It's on urbanspoon with 10 "I like it" clicks = 120% liked it. No reviews tho. The Freep did review it. You can check the paper archives.

      1. I have heard that it has been packed and that lunch is a better bet for not having to wait. But I haven't heard anything about the food - other than the reviews in Freep, etc. I'd love a review if you actually get there!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ludlows23

          UPDATE: Went to Cafe Via (Maple and Woodward) for a birthday dinner. Overall impressions:

          Caprese: Mah. The tomatoes had been refrigerated, so the flavor was lost and they had gone a bit mushy. Not a great deal for the $10, and I'm not sure where the "grilling" part came in.

          Crab cakes: Pretty good. Crisp exterior, nicely fried, soft & crabby inside, with a tasty remoulade and corn salsa that had a slight kick, amid the creaminess.

          Meat: They mean it when they say "medium rare" in a way that most establishments don't. Our (hubby's and mine) meat entrees (beef tenderloin au poivre and lamb chops) were almost purple, but with a great sear that made up for any slight hesitations about the color of the meat. These people aren't afraid to deliver a juicy, well-cooked (read: RARE) piece of meat that retains its texture and clear flavor.

          Dessert: The strawberry shortcake with poprocks was about 3 steps removed from a poptart. . . .Now that I'm past the wine-haze, the rectangular shortbread they used--covered in whipped cream, and sprinkled with poprocks--makes me think they were going for "poptart." I'm not anti-poptart (overly processed bundles of jammy pastry goodness!), but this seemed like a gimmick for gimmick's sake. If you want to do a poptart, commit! (Bake the damn thing! Don't cheat me out of icing!) Messing with a shortcake, though, with overly-macerated berries and soggy pastry... just not cool.

          Ambiance: Birmingham "fabulous"with a nice patio.

          Overall: Worth a trip, but not a long wait (6:30 on a Tuesday 45 minute wait for an inside table, and they don't take reservations. Grrr. Argh.).

          1. re: jskang47

            Maybe the caprese and strawberry dishes would be better served when the produce is in season?

            I kind of like the shortbread + strawberries idea instead of shortcake. Gotta wait a month for the local berries, though. And I'm skipping the poprocks!

            1. re: coney with everything

              Good point. Still getting used to the seasonal produce in this area.

        2. had lunch at via on friday. ate inside because it was raining pretty hard. small, quaint dining room with tasteful decor. very professional wait staff. had a great cup of potato leek soup. also had a flatbread brie & arugula sandwich with crispy fries that i enjoyed.

          1 Reply
          1. re: xman887

            That sounds great! What a tasty meal for the crappy day we had on Friday! I think I might have to put this on the lunch rotation.