Who can't like a restaurant with a name like Blue Rooster Café? It's a combination of cozy and chic, with an eclectic décor that puts customers at ease. It's also got a warmth both in style and from the kind, helpful staff.
You can miss the café if you're not watching for it. It’s located at 1372 Cape St. Claire Road, in a busy strip center.
My dining companion and I arrived about 3:45 on a Tuesday afternoon. Breakfast and lunch are served all day. The kitchen closes at 4:00pm, so I called ahead with our order, and the staff had it hot and ready and served it to us upon our arrival (after the kitchen closes, the café is still open until 9:00pm for ice cream and coffee – a great place to hang with friends).
To start, we picked the coconut shrimp and fries seasoned with Old Bay.
The hand-breaded shrimp might be the best I've had in the county. Crunchy with shredded coconut on the outside and well-done on the inside, they alone were super, but the sweet chili sauce, with a touch of heat, is delicious — the kind of dip with an aftertaste that is even better after the first bite.
For our main dishes, my companion chose the Louisiana shrimp and grits. I ordered the spicy salmon and also the Nutella waffle, deemed one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (to give you more of a sampling).
I tasted grits about 20 years ago in Dallas, where everyone urged me on — "You just have to try 'em." That was a one and done — no sir, not my cup of tea by any stretch of the imagination. But these – oh, these were a whole different story. I didn't know grits could taste that good. The Louisiana grits were warm and cheesy with tender shrimp, peppers, onions and tomatoes. The sauce was smooth and flavorful without overdoing the heat. Bits of hot sausage pleasantly punched up the kick. Sliced scallions added another layer of crunch and taste (yes, this was my companion's dish, but I stole several bites. She loved it too).
Turning to my dish, the earthy taste of the collard greens complemented the tender salmon, drizzled with spicy mustard sauce, all on a bed of rice. I liked the mix of flavor and textures. It's good to give the taste buds a little excitement now and then with something new! This was also a wholesome, healthy dish – one of those dinners you enjoy and feel virtuous about!
My extra-large, light, fluffy waffle was drizzled with Nutella (a cocoa hazelwood spread) and topped with frosted candied hazelnuts and finished off with a dollop of whipped cream. I asked for extra whipped cream (a dollop didn't do it). The waffle was warm and sweet, and the hazelnuts, almost like candy, gave it an extra pop. This was a filling, satisfying treat, great for a special weekend breakfast or even as a dessert, accompanied by a strong cup of coffee.
Out of all of the delicious food, the Louisiana shrimp and grits was the star, in my opinion (if you read my reviews often, you'll notice that I always like what my companion gets better than my own dish – that, my friend, is human nature, right?)
We chose to accompany our meal with one of the $10 bottle wine offerings, a rose – surprisingly good for the cost.
We finished it off with ice cream. I chose chocolate in a waffle cone, and my companion got a cherry Nutella in a cup. Though it was good, it did taste a little stale, like it had been in the freezer too long – but since the weather was still cool, and not a lot of people are running in for ice cream, it's understandable.
There are several other dishes I want to try – grilled Reuban, crispy Brussels sprouts, a breakfast burrito, and a serving of cinnamon custard French toast.
Cocktails, local beers and wines are also available.
The bill came to a little over $70 before a tip – reasonable for the amount of food we bought.
One of our waitresses said that people often use the café to relax and do their work or eat and read. It's a lovely place for a casual date or a catch-up with a friend.
I will return to this charming café, and I urge you to make time to stop and check it out. You won't be disappointed.
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