In the morning, sitting in what is almost a lobby, I’m surprised by how little bustling you can hear. People are working silently or having muted breakfast meetings. Classical music on local radio and a pleasant rattling of dishes are the only sounds at C Street, a new restaurant in the regal building on Cary Street where Acacia used to be.
Though different, the décor at C Street remains formal — white tablecloths and well-chosen stemware. Service shows energy and graciousness. Maybe this idea of serving breakfast and lunch might be just what the space was begging for after a short-lived stint as 3325 Cafe.
The immense whole-wheat cinnamon roll ($3.50) is a luscious, cloying starter with a cup of Rostov’s coffee ($2.50), consistently filled to the brim. The egg of the day is a hearty but teetering-toward-chilly frittata with squash, carrots and roasted red peppers ($8). Served with an exceptional root vegetable hash, there’s no need for a V8; all veggie servings are accounted for.
Lunch whips up the place; there’s more bustle and, if possible, even more energy from the staff. Specials seem to match the weather. Soup of white beans, kale and sausage ($7) is overwhelmed by rough-cut sausage. A better selection is the kabocha squash and parsnip purée ($6), sweet and savory with rum crème fraîche and a throat-tickling hint of jerk spice.
The grilled cheese is lifted by bacon and sottocenere al tartufo, a soft white Italian cheese peppered with truffles, placed prettily next to a pile of kiwi, pineapple and strawberries. The Thai pork burger, though tenderly cooked, struggles against a mealy wheat bun and sinus-clearing ginger, with a side of heavily dressed pasta. At $12 it’s a pricey lunch. Better and brighter is the chicken pastilla ($11), a Moroccan meat pie. This flaky, almond- and raisin-studded wonder breathes deliciousness with its pulled dark chicken and custardy interior.
Hours at C Street run later on Tuesday and Thursday nights for beer, wine and liquor specials and a limited menu. We hope for some sexier bar bites to go with the thoughtful wine list, but the options are limited. Doughy pizza carbonara ($9) has cheese that’s too crispy. Salads, while large and lovely, don’t mesh with the current music, lower lighting and watch-the-city vibe. Dessert, however, is not to be missed, and there are no pedestrian choices here. Mexican chocolate whoopie ($8) is rich with thick ganache. A pfefernuss spice cake ($9) spikes with nutmeg and maple.
What will keep patrons coming back, though, is the service; each visit is a revelation. Unobtrusive but attentive servers don’t overlook the details. Painstaking care goes into the firing of courses at both breakfast and lunch. Communication from kitchen to bar and wait staff is constant and apparent to each table. Just the smallest smidge more flair for an exacting food experience, and this will be one of the best go-to day spots in Carytown. S
3325 W. Cary St.
Breakfast and lunch Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Happy hour Tuesday and Thursday until 7:30 p.m.