My first impression of Garden Café was presented by Alice Laussade. I was reading City of Ate, preparing to be the next critic at the Observer, and came across her short story about enjoying a sandwich out on the back patio. It ended in a dual mockingbird chair shit. I've loved Alice ever since.
And I've been curious about Garden Café ever since too. I followed the East Dallas restaurant as they applied for alcohol permits and watched as they were denied for reasons I will never ever understand. Apparently the neighbors were afraid the place would turn into a full blown bar with strippers and and Jell-O and gin shots. All this alongside chicken salad sandwiches.
I honestly think that decision has stifled the area. It's certainly robbed people in the neighborhood of the chance for a nice evening stroll punctuated by a glass of wine on a beautiful breezy patio.
On occasion there's a tiny condolence. The café holds random evening events that are BYOB. The next is a combination dinner event and poetry reading that, depending on the amount of alcohol people bring, could be pretty cool -- you know, for poetry readings. The menu is below, and the cost is $65 a person.
I can't speak first hand about chef Mark Wootton's menu as I've only had an omelet at the place. Still, this sounds like the type of event that might draw an interesting crowd and with the right mix and good weather turn into a fun evening. Don't forget to bring your own poem if you go. You'll be the one doing the reading.
If I attended I'd read the one about the rabbit and the radish.
Duck "pico" House-made sweet potato chip
Wilted chard Cucumber Red pepper relish
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Venison back strap with herb-blue cheese compound butter and red wine reduction Spaghetti squash Apple-raisin quinoa
Spiceman's foraged and garden greens Mozzarella Co. mozzarella Basil pesto Marinated tomato
Sweet fried butternut squash Whipped mascarpone Candied walnuts
Garden Cafe Poetry Night March 8 Doors at 7 p.m. Dinner at 7:45 p.m. $65 plus tax and gratuity BYOB