Friday, March 4, 2011

Cafe Atlas Review in St. George Spectrum "Where It's @"

I'm going to let you in on a secret: there's a nice little gourmet food eatery located inside the Bosch Kitchen Center in St. George.

It was an ad on The Spectrum's website that first caught my eye. "The best kept secret in St. George has been revealed," the ad stated.

I had never heard about the café before, so it was a revelation to me. On a recent Friday afternoon a friend and I headed over to see if it was as good as it claimed.

The café is located to left, past the registers, as you enter the store. Shelving was arranged so that it was mostly squared off and the large store had an open, bright feel.

The menu includes a variety of sandwiches, soups and salads - such as a roast turkey sandwich, the Monte Cristo or El Diablo paninis or grilled romaine heart or bistecca salads. It offers Roasted Tomato soup and a soup of the day.

I opted for a special of the day - the King of Clubs - while my friend decided to try the buffalo chicken panini. We both got beverages and decided to share one of their cookies for dessert.

The sides included German potato, quinoa, pasta and caponata salads. I opted for the pasta salad and my friend decided on the German potato.

The cashier was friendly, patiently answering all our questions about the menu and directing us to the drink fountain around the corner. She was also quick and efficient at clearing the tables as patrons left.

Our food took a few minutes to arrive but we could watch it being prepared fresh before our eyes.

My sandwich was on three slices of lightly grilled homemade sourdough bread, with large portions of chicken, tomato and more. I was happy they cut the sandwich into four pieces so it was easier to pick up but I still struggled to get my mouth around the thick sandwich. The bread was only lightly toasted so it was warm but still soft. The chicken was tender and delicious.

I also tried a bite of my friend's buffalo chicken sandwich, which had a little kick that was good. It did include a large portion of blue cheese - I love cheese but I'll admit that's not one of my favorites - so if you're not into the strong, sharp taste you'll want to skip that sandwich.

I was surprised at the smaller side dish portions but the size of the sandwich more than made up for it. The cold pasta salad was good, though fairly typical of a pasta salad with a vinaigrette taste. The German potato salad was one I'd never experienced before, with large slices of tomato, bacon and onion, with a strong mustard flavor.

We had to wait a while for the cookie to arrive - they had to put in a fresh batch when we ordered and then we had to wait until it cooled - but that just meant that the oatmeal, chocolate chip and pecan cookie came out warm with melting chocolate that made my mouth water, though I was already full from the meal.

It was a perfect way to end a delicious meal.

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