Published October 08. 2012 4:00AM
I like to think of myself as an urban explorer. I feel most at home making my way on foot through new neighborhoods, seeking out the dives and hidden gem restaurants. An Anthony Bourdain of sorts, albeit one who rarely leaves southern New England.
But sometimes I cheat…and just go to places I read about on Yelp.
Now that I’ve made that admission I can tell you I was a little surprised when I saw a fairly new café in Niantic had a perfect five star review on Yelp. That’s a really hard thing to do. Even if you’re the best restaurant in the world, some crabby dude could just go on there and give you a 1.5 because he thought his iced coffee was too cold.
So I made my way over to five star establishment—Café Sol at 346 Main St. (it opened a little over a year ago)—for some lunch this weekend.
I was very impressed. You could best describe this place as creative healthy. Several sandwiches came on fresh multi-grain and included some very inventive creations.
I went with The Blue—oven roasted turkey, prosciutto, house made fig jam, lettuce and blue cheese crema on multigrain. The sandwich was as good as it sounds. It had that delightful sweet and savory balance.
Some other sandwiches that stood out to me: the East Meets West, tender pulled pork drenched in house-made bourbon BBQ sauce over melted aged-provolone and Asian apple slaw on a hard roll. Also The Triple B, all natural black bean burger wrapped with avocado, havarti cheese, black bean lime spread, salsa, lettuce and chipotle yogurt sauce.
All sandwiches cost $8.95 with the exception of grilled cheese with a side of veggie sticks and the peanut butter and jelly priced at $4.95.
I went with the “Ying & Yang” option, which allows you to have half a sandwich and a half-salad or soup. The sandwiches are big so this is a good option. I went with the soup, which that day was roasted red pepper with Gouda cheese—absolutely phenomenal.
Café Sol also offers baked good and the types of drinks you would expect at a café.
The food there was excellent but I also got a great vibe from the place. It had the feel of the kind of lunch spot you want to come back to. The dining area had a quirky ambiance, and the outside deck had a cute garden.
The people who work there also seem to really enjoy what they are doing, which was nice to see. A walk scheduled to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month was going on in Niantic when I was there and half the staff was wearing bright pink wigs. This included a guy with a five o’clock shadow (In my opinion, it takes a real man to wear pink.).
I noticed while enjoying my meal that Café Sol had a sign out front that read, “Specialty coffees, sandwiches…and the usual.” I think they should consider changing it to “…and the exceptional.”