Neuhaus Café: Kid Friendly isn't Romance Friendly

If you're looking for a quiet place to start off an amorous evening, Neuhaus Café housed in the Preston Royal Shopping Center would not be the best choice. On the other hand, if you're in search of a fun, lively, kid-friendly restaurant with a huge selection of entrées, desserts and candy then Neuhaus Café would be right up your alley.

The café-style restaurant is plain on the outside, near Merge clothing store and Barnes & Noble. You forget about the plain Jane signage, though, when you enter the restaurant that doubles as chocolate and bulk candy shop. Giggling, sugar-high kids race around the restaurant. There's so much to look at -- from the gorgeous panoramic picture of Table Mountain overlooking the city of Cape Town, South Africa, to the delicately placed chocolates in the glass case to the bulk candy dispensers in the back, it's a wonder that patrons can actually sit down and eat their dinners.

The night we ate at Neuhaus Café we selected a table outside to avoid the blasting air conditioner. Inside looked fun, especially since a teenager played her guitar and sang cover songs at the front of the restaurant. I admired how she put out two tips jars -- one for "college" and the other for "Italy."

Our patio table, set on the strip center's walkway, provided a less noisy and much warmer place to eat. Neuhaus Café had a long menu, and most anyone would be able to find a dish that satisfies. I scanned the dessert page of the menu first to gauge which piece of cake would best accompany a "light" dinner dish. For dinner I ended up with a salad Nicoise.

The Neuhaus Café Nicoise had chunks of albacore tuna tossed with lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, capers, anchovies, black olives and eggs with a vinaigrette dressing. Keeping our date casual, my date ordered a tuna melt sandwich with cheddar cheese. At first our waitress brought my date a chicken salad sandwich instead of the tuna. We found it hard to get her attention to take back the sandwich for the right one. Sitting outside may have given us a more comfortable temperature, but it came with sleepy service.

When we both finally had our food, my date and I decided our dinners tasted fine but neither of the dishes wowed us. We moved on to dessert, where we split a piece of chocolate colossal cake. Eating the rich dessert made us want to return to Neuhaus Café for another chocolate fix, for a coffee date or for a bulk candy splurge.

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Monica Berry