#137 - The Classic Cafe at Roanoke, Roanoke, TX

If there's one thing that Joni and I do well, it's eat.  And drink wine.  We discussed options of places to eat dinner, and I looked at restaurant.com, but nothing jumped out at us.  Joni suggested The Classic Café.  She said they usually go there as a special-occasion dinner, but since we hadn't seen each other in 5 months it was kind of a special occasion.  Plus she had a $25 coupon. 

It's located in Roanoke, TX.  A very cute little place.  It kind of looks like a house from the outside.  We went in, and Curtis, one of the owners, was behind the bar.  Our reservation wasn't for another 20 minutes or so, and we decided to have a glass of wine before dinner. We ended up with a bottle of Les Lavieres, Savigny les Beaune.  Curtis said it was an excellent pinot noir, and a first press, which is the best press to get.  It was excellent and smooth.  It had better be, for the price. 

Curtis and his brother own the restaurant.  I didn't get to met the brother, but Curtis is awesome.  He is so warm and friendly, and extremely knowledgeable about food and wine.  The restaurant wasn't super busy, but I feel like even if it was he would have been just as attentive to us.  I also met Francis, the GM, and he's great too.  I learned that the bar area used to be a garage, the main dining room used to be army barracks for guys training in Abilene, and the kitchen used to be a creamery.  Really cool history.  They also have artwork on the walls that you can buy.  Everything was way out of my price range, but it would all look awesome in my house.  They also have a garden, and grow a lot of their own vegetables.  Right now there's not much growing of course, but I'm sure in the summer and fall there's tons of fresh veggies on the menu.  He said they get tons of okra, and he was amused by my refusing to eat okra story.  He said that one of their most popular appetizers in summer/fall is their shrimp & okra fritters made with both puréed and whole cornmeal.  I can imagine that for sure.  Our reservation was in the main dining room, but we decided to sit in the bar area so we could listen to the guy playing guitar. 

As we looked at the menu, our server brought out curried chick peas

Wow, these had a lot of curry.  It was very strong. But it was also very good.  I really like the presentation.  There was a little bottle of seasoned olive oil on the table and I poured a little into my spoon.  It added great flavor to the chick peas.

We skipped appetizers and went straight to the entrées.  Actually, I do that most of the time.  I got the ribeye.  In hindsight, I don't know what I was thinking since I just had ribeye on Tuesday.  But clearly I wasn't thinking.  I decided to add the bleu cheese breadcrumb crust. It also comes with braised red cabbage and a polenta cake. I thought about swapping out the cabbage for pork belly mac & cheese, but that would have just been gluttonous and unnecessary. 

I don't know what I was expecting with the crust, but I was completely taken aback.  But one bite, and I was sold.  The steak was cooked perfect medium.  Even though there was a significant amount of crust, it wasn't heavy.  Or too much bleu cheese.  It was perfect. The port shallot Demi-glace was excellent as well.  Rich, but not overpowering.  The braised cabbage was really good and light.  A perfect accompaniment.  I never order polenta at restaurants, and I've never tried to make it either, and I'm really not sure why because it's really good.

After we finished our meal, we sat back up at the bar for an after-dinner drink.  He made us chocolate martinis

So yummy.  The shaved chocolate on top added just enough additional chocolate, and was a great contrast in texture for the drink.  We both really liked it. 

Will I go back?  Most definitely.  But most likely for lunch, in the summer or fall to enjoy the vegetables fresh from the garden.