Review: Katalina’s Café Corner
Café Corner has long been a staple of the Harrison West neighborhood, but changes are afoot. Two years ago, new owner Kathleen Day took over the business and began a series of slow and intentional changes to the restaurant. The menu still focuses heavily on gourmet sandwiches, with old favorites mixed with new additions. Non-sandwich offerings have been expanded to include tacos, new breakfast options and daily specials, and the interior has received a rustic makeover that feels both familiar and worldly.
I decided to pay a visit to Katalina’s Café Corner last weekend, only to find a long line out the door and every table filled both instead and out on the patio. Undeterred, placed my order to go and decided to enjoy my sampling away from the bustling weekend lunch crowd.
Katalina’s offers a variety of soups, salads and starters. Their House Salad ($6.25 for full, $4.25 for side salad) includes mixed greens, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, garlic croutons, and your choice of dressing. I opted for a side salad to enjoy. The greens were fresh, and toppings were plentiful, though the raw red onions were a little too plentiful. I had to push some aside to avoid being overwhelmed by them. Overall, a nice salad appropriate for a warm springtime day.
The soups at Katalina’s are house-made and rotated every day ($5.95 for a bowl). During my visit, the special was a Tortilla Soup, which I couldn’t pass up. A nice fresh blend of tomatoes, onions and bell peppers gave this soup a salsa flavor, and a bit of melted mozzarella and slice of avocado gave it a solid creamy quality. Missing were tortilla chips of any kind, but I really didn’t mind. There was a medium level of heat to the soup, which was more prominent toward the finish, so don’t let the first mild bite deceive you. Great for clearing your sinuses on a chilly day.
Moving on to the bread-and-butter of Katalina’s, you’ll find the extensive sandwich menu. The Mazatlan Slow-Roasted Pork & Egg Sandwich ($9.25) lept out at me off their hot sandwich side of the menu. This heavenly creation includes a serving of slow-roasted barbecue pulled pork, a fried egg, avocado, roasted peppers and mayonaise, mashed between two slices of buttered and toasted old-world bread. The pulled pork was perfect, and the barbecue sauce was sweet with a slight tanginess. The egg was positioned to the side of the sandwich, which meant that some bites had a mouthful of egg, and others had very little, but overall I enjoyed the combination of these flavors. The mayonaise was sufficient, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it were a spicy chipotle mayo, or some other bolder flavor.
The Raspberry Turkey Sandwich ($8.75) is a feature of the cold sandwich menu and includes sliced turkey breast, crumbled bacon, mixed salad greens, mayonnaise, and a raspberry vinaigrette, served on nine-grain bread. This was a nice update to the classic turkey sandwich, with upgraded components. Mixed greens work better than iceberg, and the blend of raspberry and mayonnaise made for a nice sweet sauce. The nine-grain was moist and tender, and the bacon added a salty finish without feeling overly greasy.
In addition to sandwiches, Katalina’s also offers wraps and tacos. I decided to try out their Slow-Cooked Pork Tacos ($9.95) which include their house-made pulled pork in corn tortillas, topped with avocado, tomatoes, feta cheese, onions, cilantro, mixed greens, chimichurri sauce, sour cream, and salsa. Once again, the pork was delicious (they also make a veggie version of these tacos) and worked well with these traditional mexican flavors. Avocado portions were generous and fresh, and the red onions and cilantro gave a mild pungent bite. My tacos seemed to be sauced sparingly, which wasn’t a glaring omission, but was noticeable as the heat level was near zero. Overall, a nice addition to a sandwich-filled menu.
There’s no mistake about it. Katalina’s offers some of the best gourmet sandwiches in town. It’s hard to deviate from your standby once you find something you like, but I highly encourage experimentation here, as new additions are likely to become new favorites when given the opportunity. I will surely be back in the future for more pulled-pork topped treats.
Katalina’s is located at 1105 Pennsylvania Avenue in Harrison West. They’re open Mon-Fri 8am to 9pm and Sat-Sun 8am-4pm. More information can be found online at www.cafecornercolumbus.com.