The Heart & Soul Cafe is Truly a Special Place

Another visit to the Heart & Soul Cafe at West Broad Street (corner of Osborn Ave). This time we went there for lunch. Previously impressed by their breakfast, absolutely wanted to try their sandwiches orother lunch items. Fortunately, the very favorable impression from our initial visit was more than confirmed: This is truly a special place. When we arrived there around 12:30 there were a few - seemingly - regular customers at the counter and over the course of our meal a few regulars showed up or stopped by for take out.

Although she is not typically a fan of warm breakfast, my wife was easily convinced by the breakfast special. Fried fish with scrambled eggs and grits. OK let's talk about the grits: Today's visit totally changed my perception of grits. (And it is a rare thing that one event totally changes my view on something). I remember vaguely that I had grits several years ago when we were in New Orleans. I recall it as an amorphous, tasteless mass of empty carbohydrates with a weird texture. I was not at all impressed, didn't understand why this was such a big deal in "The South" and wasn't planning to have it again.

Now with the grits we got at the Heart & Soul Cafe things changed dramatically. The grits there had a unique, pleasant and truly comfortable, mellow balanced flavor in itself (which is enhanced by some butter on top) and a surprisingly good mouth-filling texture. Yes, I'm sure one would still not consider grits a health food, but it is truly enjoyable and absolutely worth it. My wife was pretty happy with the fish and eggs as well.

I had the ham and capicola sandwich. I actually, I had half a sandwich, which easily satisfies a normal lunch appetite. Not only is the sandwich fairly large but it is loaded with lots of meat. And this is not the rather tasteless run of the mill sandwich meat you often get in chain stores but rather tasty higher quality meat. The sandwich bread is baguette like and has a good taste by itself and is slightly chewy and moist, again not what you far too oftent encouter when getting a chain sandwich, tasteless, foam-like sub rolls. As a side you get potato salad. I'm not sure if it is home made, but it certainly has a well rounded flavor and impressive lasting mouth feel and a good texture. The potatoes have a discernible taste of their own, they are not just chunks of tasteless starch. Although the salad is mayonnaise based, the mayo is not overpowering and nicely enclose the other components. For me the high point: It comes with chopped eggs, the one most critical ingredient for a superb potato salad.
Overall a solid, well made deli sandwich which very tasty ingredients and sides. For $5.50 a really good deal.

The service was again very friendly, attentive and efficient. Although this place has a lot of regular guests, new comers are welcomed and treated with the same warmth and attention and - I believe - in a lot of cases will become regulars in no time.

The Heart & Soul Cafe is already becoming a favorite place of ours that we will frequent more often for breakfast or lunch. I will still go to Panera when I travel, but when I'm home in Westfield the Heart & Soul Cafe just feels much better than Panera, et. al. and a bit more like home.

Signing Off - The Westfield Blogger

No comments: