Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blackbird Cafe

Blackbird Cafe
815 W 50th Street @ Bryant Ave

When I first learned about Blackbird I was browsing the internet for food stories as I usually do. I came upon a review on The Heavy Table’s food column, The Bite. They had this beautiful photograph of a spicy peanut noodle dish with tofu. From that point forward I knew I had to try it even though my only basis for that thought was a photo.

Located in my childhood neighborhood I am fairly familiar with the area and the people. Although the people are somewhat artsy, I wasn’t sure the neighborhood would feel what Blackbird was trying to accomplish. None the less Blackbird delivered that avant-garde bistro/café feeling I was hoping for. Antlers of all sizes hung from the walls along with gold painted framed mirrors and a chalk board with specials. In the entry way and in the back hung ill-hemmed Italian looking curtains and in the hall paper Chinese lanterns graced the ceilings. From the outside the Blackbird looked very small, but they could probably house about 40 people.

On a whim last Monday evening we decided to give it a try. We arrive about 6:30 which was perfect because after we were seated numerous parties came in and were turned away (you cannot make reservations). The one unfortunate part was being seated right next to the doors, which wasn’t entirely the restaurant’s fault, but we had a couple parties come in and stand right over us talking loudly about whether or not they should wait. One group even took the menus from our table to try to figure out if they were at Heidi’s (which is right next door). I quickly snatched back our menus once they walked away.

The wait staff seemed friendly enough. I chatted a bit with our waitress regarding the spicy peanut noodle picture I saw on The Bite. She told me that many people have come in seeking out just that one dish. For the rest of the meal she was attentive and made sure our glasses were full and our table was clear.

My boyfriend had the Southwestern Sandwich, which was not actually a sandwich, but still good. I of course had the Spicy Peanut Noodles with tofu. Not overly spicy, but still had a lot of flavor. The tofu was definitely the star of this dish. There was also chicken mixed in the noodles and I wasn’t sure if that was a mistake or if they always came that way. In any case, if you are a vegetarian you may want to ask about the chicken.

The most awesome part of this meal wasn’t the entrees, but the app and the dessert. We tried the Proscuitto Cigar which was by far one of the best apps I have ever eaten (see more about this in the description below). Also, the dessert trio we ordered was delectable especially the jasmine tea crème brulee.

The Blackbird was an overall success in my book. Reasonably priced (not an everyday place, but for special occasions or a treat), interesting décor and some really amazing unique dishes. I would definitely go back in the near future even if it was just to nosh on apps and drink some beers at the bar.


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