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Jun 8, 2014 08:48 AM

Terrific Birthday Dinner off of the Lounge Menu at Cafe del Rey last night

Girlfriend and I ended up at the bar at Cafe del Rey for a birthday dinner last night, and gotta say i was EXTREMELY pleased with the food.
During dinner hours, when eating at the bar, Cafe del Rey allows you to order from the lounge menu and/or the dinner menu. I believe that you can order from the lounge menu continuously between lunch and dinner as well

It goes without saying that the service was great because Nathan, who has tended bar there for years, has always been great.

We ordered off of the lounge menu.
The high point for me were the MUSSELS.
they were PLUMP, FRESH, and the sauce (garlic, shallots white wine and mustard) was perfect: flavorful, but not overpowering nor greasy.
they were better than the mussels at Fig and better than the mussels at Lukshon.
also, the portion size was good.

the Beet and Burrata salad was also top flight. two kinds of beets, perfectly done, sweet. Burrata extremely fresh. lamb's lettuce.

Also recommend their Scallop Scampi.

I plan to return there again in the next few days and will expand this report.

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  1. Happy bday

    Those kind of beet and cheese things so cliche but always a winner for me. They do a nice one at Spago too.

    6 Replies
    1. re: jessejames

      there's cheese and there's cheese.
      this was perfect burrata generously portioned, and the beets were sweet and cooked perfectly, so, yes, certainly not an innovative dish, but so well executed that i didn't care.

      1. re: westsidegal

        Innovation can be overrated. Sounds delish to me!

        1. re: jessejames

          yeah, i thought spago's started that whole chino ranch beets and goat cheese terrine-y type thing.

          1. re: kevin

            Some of that stuff is so old now but still good. Like that pizza with smoked salmon and caviar. Or the cones with tuna.

            1. re: jessejames

              It's so old that it's new again ?????

              1. re: kevin

                True classics that stand the test of time. Always a treat to enjoy.

      1. Looking forward to your follow-up report! Damn those mussels sound good.

        How would you describe the ambiance at the bar -- noise level, lighting, age demographic? Good place for a date do you think?

        7 Replies
        1. re: spoonlicker

          this is a civilized bar in a beautiful mid-century modern building.
          in addition to the lounge menu, they offer a well constructed wine-by-the-glass program.
          i have never seen ANYBODY go there to celebrate their 21st birthday. if you are in your early 20's, this place is likely to be too quiet-- no rock music here.
          i've never heard a server nor a patron speaking "valley-girl-language" at cafe del rey.

          that said, it is, imho, not stuffy either.

          great place for a date, speaking from first hand experience (many times).
          you will be able to clearly see your date and you will be able to clearly hear your date. you will also be able to discern whether or not your date has a culinary range that extends past hamburgers/hot dogs/comfort food.

          1. re: westsidegal

            Perfect -- thank you. My 20s are long behind me (thank god -- still scarred by memories of Olive Garden first dates). This sounds like it would be a lovely option for great food and convo. Heck, even if the date is a dud, at least the chow will be memorable.

            (And happy birthday! Glad you celebrated in style.)

            1. re: spoonlicker

              went back tonight after the disaster that playa provisions provided.
              had the joel gott sauvignon blanc and my own order of the scallops-- a perfectly balanced dish.
              my daughter (who DID fall far from the tree in that she likes comfort food) had the chicken caesar and the tomato soup with grilled cheese. the grilled cheese blew her away--warm, crispy, bread:cheese ratio was perfect, high quality cheese. the soup and the salad were solid and generously sized for being "small plates"

              so it ended up that she took me out twice for my birthday in one night.
              good kid.

              1. re: westsidegal

                Perhaps not so far from the tree after all. Happy belated!

              2. re: spoonlicker

                that's better than my mc d's first dates and pondering whether i should spring for a fourth filet o fish sandwich and looking like a fat ass.

              3. re: westsidegal

                i love valley girls, though valley girl language my ears do not.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  hmm, never went on a first date there.

                  sounds like an idea.

                  thanks WG.

              4. Happy b-day!

                I've been to Café del Rey twice for NYE. Both times, the experience was very pleasant. The food is not "innovative" or trendy, but sometimes you just want a very nice meal in a civilized environment, which this place certainly provides....