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Restaurant Review: Cravings Cafe

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Cravings CafePhoto by Walker Evans.
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Cravings Cafe is back. It’s back in a new spot, all by itself on a long stretch of Front Street. A couple years ago, it had a successful run as a carryout cafe in Italian Village. Its new address has more space for seating than the operation had in its old digs. The seats, though, are already occupied by a cafe sort of crowd, sitting alone with laptops or in tidy sets of two.

Guests order at the counter. The sweets and breakfast options are a good way to begin the day. Start with the Breakfast Roll ($8). No ordinary roll, it’s built on a perky house-made brioche. The brioche is filled with a fried egg that wears a dense shield of thick cut bacon, cheddar and a little rosemary aioli to tie it all together. The sandwich is thoroughly hearty and satisfying.

On the sweet side, the menu features formal items such as French Toast, or alternately, there is an uncommonly tender scone ($2.50), loaded with both raisins and toasted walnuts, then topped off with sugary sweet drizzles of icing. The scone delivers pretty much everything you could want in a morning pastry.

While touring the baked goods, the cookies are also worthwhile, perhaps even for breakfast. They’re large and surprisingly soft, but in a natural way. None of that soft-baked chemical stuff you get from pre-mades. There’s a white chocolate chip version ($2.50) that delivers an indulgent supply of chips and pistachios in every bite. Equally appealing is the milk chocolate pretzel version (also $2.50) with a similarly soft base, this time loaded with big chunks of mild milk chocolate and salty pretzel bits.

The best item from the lunch menu so far has been the The Vegging Out ($8.25) sandwich. Built on a baguette, the bread is filled with a tasty mix of roasted zucchini, oyster mushrooms, onion and a tahini/lentil spread, plus some (blessedly) mild goat cheese and what it calls an “herbed out salsa verde.” The result is an exquisitely executed vegetable sandwich, filled with a pleasing variety of textures and flavors.

The Fried Tomatillo Sandwich ($8.25) has a promising angle. Built on the brioche, it’s sort of an edgy BLT with bacon, greens, mayo and fried tomatillo. The aforementioned fried tomatillos are flawlessly prepared, with perfectly snug sweaters of breading hugging each slice. But they also have more tartness than expected, and the traditional (perhaps pedestrian) sweetness of tomatoes in a more traditional bacon/lettuce configuration was dearly missed.

Meanwhile, the Bulgogi Cheesesteak ($9.25) is a pretty decent cheesesteak sandwich, with melted provolone, sautéed peppers, mushrooms, and flank steak. That said, the sandwich doesn’t exactly resemble bulgogi. Minus the menu description, it’d be hard to identify an Asian influence.

You can round things out with sides that include salad, chips, or some nice Greek Hash ($3.25): seasoned chopped potatoes, freshly fried. In the beverage department, you’ll find Thunderkiss coffee as well as some interesting cold brews and teas. You can find Cravings Cafe in its new home at 114 N. Front St.

For more information, visit cravingscafe614.com.

Editor’s note: Cravings Cafe regularly changes up their baked goods. The scone and cookies mentioned were unavailable for photos.

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