Coastside residents rarely keep a culinary secret for long, and the secret about Taste Cafe is officially out. Started by two friends who used to work at Mezza Luna, Taste is now in the space formerly occupied by a Thai restaurant in Strawflower Village. Thanks largely to good word-of-mouth (there is no website to speak of), Taste quickly became a buzzing hive of breakfast and lunch fanatics.
And so it was on the Saturday morning that I went with two friends for brunch. Almost every seat in the farmhouse-decorated interior was taken, and wait staff was racing to serve them all. For that reason, and because Taste has only been open half a year, lapses in service were to be expected. And lapses there were.
Coffee came immediately (two regulars and one cappuccino) and were quite good — though we don’t love the non-eco-friendly pods of half-and-half. But waters, asked for upon sitting, didn’t arrive until after the food, and that took awhile. One of us ordered off-menu: “dry eggs” (first time I’d heard that term) with cheddar and bacon. She had to explain what she meant, but when the food came, she said it was perfect. The meal included a biscuit, which she accepted but then did not eat, much to my delight as I was only too happy to put it away for her. It was not a perfect biscuit — a bit too dense for this Southerner’s taste — but good.
Another friend ordered a Mexican omelet, which included black beans, jalapeño, avocado, onions, tomato, two kinds of cheese and chorizo. My vegetarian friend ordered it with no chorizo, but when it arrived it still had the sausage. It was sent back, but then reappeared quickly, remade to perfection, said my friend.
I ordered the “house eggs,” a vegetarian scramble with zucchini, red onions, cherry tomatoes, cheddar cheese and pesto. Moist, delicious and impossible to finish! All the dishes had grilled new potatoes to accompany them, which were delicious and so plentiful we ended up taking half of them home as well.
When it came time to settle up, once again it took the wait staff awhile to help us. I left there with mixed feelings. Would I go again, given the problems we had?
I would — this time for lunch and on a weekday. And it turned out to be a good idea. I was immediately waited on, and when I asked for iced tea, it came right away. This time, I ordered a classic diner entrée: a tuna melt with sweet potato fries. It was delicious. Dripping with fresh melted cheddar, it was hugely satisfying. And the sweet potato fries, which came with a spicy chipotle dipping sauce, were done to perfection: crispy on the outside, hot and moist inside.
It was such a good lunch that I decided to really overindulge and try some crepes as a dessert. I had the Nutella crepes, which included sliced bananas and Nutella (hazelnut chocolate), wrapped in a crepe and piled high with whipped cream that tasted house-made. I sank into my booth, delirious. And the bill came promptly this time.
I’m glad I went back to give Taste another … taste. If you’re a stickler about efficient service, as I am, you might want to check it out on a weekday rather than a busy summer weekend.
Review restaurant articles are done by two local residents who enjoy sampling Coastside restaurants. They choose to remain anonymous so that they get the same treatment as you would get in these places. Use their insights to help guide you, but by all means check out these eateries yourself.
In a nutshell
For fans of: good diner food in a comfortable setting
Not for fans of: doting service, speedy dining
Cuisine: Delicious diner food in huge portions
Atmosphere: Pleasant but basic
Service: Room to improve
Noise level: Depending on day and hour, quiet enough for real conversation