Monday, October 19, 2015

Cafe Io

Dinner this past Saturday was easily decided thanks to Alex at everybody loves you.... Friday evening he Instagrammed photos from Cafe Io. The food looked yummy, it's a new-to-us place that has been on my "To Try" list for a very long time (but I never seem to remember it when we're debating where to go for dinner), and it's not in the city, it's in Mt. Lebanon on Beverly Rd. So when Saturday came and we were done with our errands and chores and afternoon appointment and the "Where do you want to eat dinner?" debate began, I was ready with an answer: Cafe Io.

There is street parking on Beverly Rd in front of the cafe, but we parked in a metered lot behind where Bado's and Scoops on Beverly and Party Cake (love their donuts) are located and walked over to Cafe Io. We arrived a bit before 6 pm and were seated right away at a table for two in the very front in a nook bordered on 2 sides by windows. It was sort of separate from the busy restaurant and quite cozy and private. Plus, natural light for cell phone photos, and then a nice bright bright street light came on and shone in, helping with light for photos!
We both ordered iced tea to drink and it was very good fresh brewed iced tea. SP started with a cup of French Mushroom Soup (mushrooms, onions, house made croutons, parmesan cheese, mushroom broth). Even though I like mushrooms, I find mushroom soup too much of tasty, earthy thing. SP loves it, and he said this was delicious, earthy and mushroomy with large croutons soaking up the broth and parmesan cheese slowly melting on top.
We shared the Crispy Parmesan Polenta (San Marzano tomato sauce, shaved parmesan cheese), I really, really liked this. The polenta was crisp on the outside and so creamy on the inside, and the tomato sauce was so darn good. Fresh basil and slices of parmesan are always welcome. This was one of those appetizers that I regret agreeing to share with SP. I mean, I love SP, but... I wanted the whole thing. But I shared and he agreed that it was excellent.
We also shared a small House Salad (organic mixed greens, grape tomatoes, sliced cucumber, shaved carrots, crispy onions, balsamic vinaigrette). I liked the crispy onions on top and the peels of carrots. The salad was nicely dressed and the greens crisp.
For his meal, SP chose a special of the day: Grilled Salmon topped with 2 grilled shrimp and sitting atop rice. It was a bit spicy - spicier than he expected since he kind of coughed/choked on his first bite and said it had more of a kick than he expected! I think it was sort of like a jambalaya sauce and the salmon had lots of pepper seasoning. But he said it was delicious and cleaned his plate.
It shouldn't surprise anyone that I honed in on the grilled cheese part of the menu. I chose the Monster Grilled Cheese (gouda and cheddar cheeses, bacon, egg, pulled pork, tomato, caramelized onions, spinach). I chose Tomato Basil Soup for the accompanying side. The soup was excellent, pureed smooth with a bit of texture and fresh basil. So nice to have fresh basil since ours is dead on the deck!
Not a great photo of the sandwich interior but the egg is on the top slice of bread I pulled off and then the bacon and everything else is on the bottom slice. It was really good. I love breakfast sandwiches plus this one had tasty pulled pork and caramelized onion - so good. I really like ordering dishes with caramelized onions when we're out because we can never seem to get them as nicely and evenly caramelized at home. I wanted to keep eating and finish it but since I was filling up, I stopped after half and took the other half home for brunch on Sunday.
There isn't a dessert menu, the server just tells you what they have. Limoncello Raspberry Cake sounded good so we shared a slice. Layers of raspberry jam and limoncello cream and cake. Lighter than I expected, which was good, and we ate the entire piece.

We really enjoyed Cafe Io. Our food was tasty, the iced tea fresh and strong. Our server was friendly and efficient. She was kept quite busy since it was crowded but she never seem harried or hurried. Some reviews I read mentioned the number of children, and yes, there were a lot of children, but fortunately, since we were in that little front nook and since the table behind us was only adults, we were not bothered by children. It was a lovely, casual, relaxing date night at a new-to-us restaurant to which we will return.

Cafe io Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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