It’s been excruciatingly hot in NYC recently and having to take the crowded subways to commute couldn’t have been any worse in the insane humidity level. Despite having been roasting in the heat, I had the chance to meet and catch up with a good friend of mine, Kaila, and we had grabbed a bite to eat at Corner Shop Café. Located merely two blocks from SoHo, the Corner Shop Café was a delightful surprise to both of us. Literally placed on the corner of Broadway and Bleeker Street, Corner Shop Café was a small yet trendy restaurant with a tasteful design.
Overall painted in deep gray with bits of red bricked walls, the Corner Shop Café gives off a rustic yet vintage air that is popular amongst many hipsters. Decorated with small and simple flowers on top of the dark wooden tables, Kaila and I agreed that we definitely felt at home in this chic restaurant. We were seated by Jen, our friendly waitress who thoroughly went over the menu and specials of the day, recommending the dish that Corner Shop Café was most proud of. As one of the suggestions, we started off with a salmon tartare to share, plated with strips of crispy yucca chips and pesto sauce. The salmon tartare was a beautiful escape from the steaming streets; the freshness of the salmon and avocado mixed with the smoky taste of cilantro, chipotle, and capers gave the perfect blend of creamy, clean, and not heavy at all type of appetizer that I like to enjoy.
For our individual entrées, Kaila went with the Corner Shop Café’s favorite, truffle Mac & cheese, and I decided on the pancetta wrapped pork loin with Waldorf apple slaw and orzo. The pork loin was cooked to absolute perfection, the moist and succulent meat wrapped in salty pancetta with the sweet apple slaw and creamy orzo balancing the generally heavy meal. Pancetta wrapped pork loins can easily be a disaster if the seasoning is off; however, the Corner Shop Café’s take on this dish presented a fantastic balance between multiple flavors. The truffle Mac & cheese, despite it being a dish that I didn’t order for myself, was something that I couldn’t stop eating throughout the entire meal. With the creamy taste of three different types of cheese and the nutty taste of shiitake mushrooms and truffle, I couldn’t stop commenting on how delicious it was. We also added prosciutto to the Mac & cheese, which gave it a heartier flavoring to the depth of the cheese.
As we were finishing up our meal, Mark, the manager of Corner Shop Café, gave us two magnificently colored cocktails crafted by their bartender. I had the chance to speak to the creator of our drinks, who said that all of the cocktails at the Corner Shop Café are his original recipes and tweaks on some of his favorite drinks. I had the pleasure of tasting the Berry Peculiar Margarita (bottom left), which contains Sailor Jerry Rum, iced tea, raspberry puree, mint, and lemon juice, and also the Angry Peach (bottom right), which contains Bombay Sapphire, lime juice, peach schnapps, and prosecco. Both drinks had a distinct tartness mixed with a sweet, bubbly taste, refreshing enough to wipe off the grueling heat. The bartender had also described the drinks as having the “mellowness of the berries and the tartness of the gin”. Nonetheless, these unique cocktails were the finishing touches to our delicious meal, and also the highlight of it as well.
Corner Shop Café prides itself in serving only quality food prepared immediately before each meal (brunch, lunch, and dinner) and all of the ingredients used are organic, which I was delighted to hear. All of the meats used are free-range and grass fed – only the best types of meats are cooked for the best quality. Our waitress, Jen, had also recommended that for our next visit, we should try the truffle poached eggs and the tuna burger for brunch, indicating that brunch at Corner Shop Café is always a fantastic experience for people of all tastes. With the woody décor and the lively atmosphere, Corner Shop Café is perfect for a casual date night, a hangout with your friends, or even for a quick meal alone after having roamed around the city. Kaila and I left extremely satisfied with our experience at the Corner Shop Café and there is absolutely no doubt that I will be paying them another visit soon.
Corner Shop Café’s website: http://cornershopcafe.com/