Thursday, April 22, 2010
ESSANAY CAFE - Dinner with Charlie
The Essanay Café from the outside looks much like it belongs in another time. Small and rustic, it is exactly the sort of establishment that belongs in Niles, with it’s original wooden structure intact, and it’s picture windows facing along a street that still looks as though horses should come marching down it pulling buggies. Quaint squared.
The food was really impressive. A nice combination of down home and upscale, without really hitting either too hard. They don’t serve hard liquor, so we all started with variations on a champagne cocktail, a nice fizzy opener to a hearty repast. After I downed my champers, I had a glass of Merlot that was delicious.
The other appi we tried was Essanay’s take on crab cakes. Not as perfect as the asparagus, as they were a bit on the salty side, but they were good nonetheless. The patties had a nice fluffy consistency, and the crab itself was sweet and tender. I think if I hadn’t just had the world’s best crab cakes at Sea Salt still ringing on my palate, I would have been more impressed with these. They were a solid effort and definitely worth eating.
Since it was a special night we ordered desserts. The two we chose to split were a chocolate cake recommended by our hostes, who said it was the owner’s mother’s recipe. The slice was really moist, and came accompanied by a lovely mint-chocolate-chip ice cream. Our second offering was a “s’mores” prepared as a creme brulee. It’s bottom layer was graham crackers, layered over that was a covering of marscarpone cheese, and cremy marshmallow, with the final layer being a healthy topping of melted chocolate.
If you are in the Fremont neighborhood, you really ought to come by and check it out. They have a gorgeous back bar where live music is featured often on weekends, and it’s very Disneyland and yes, also quaint. See for yourself, check it out. Bon appetit!
37533 Niles Boulevard
Fremont, CA 94536
Table size: adequate
Noise: One Bell (quiet and romantic)