Complimentary, tasty snacks dull the sting of a long wait for a table.
Café of Love’s chickpeas are served deep-fried and truffled.
Similarly, an otherwise magnificent short-ribs stew arrived under an off-putting one-quarter-inch layer of grease. Also problematic, a house-made spaghetti with Maine lobster exhibited a fine sandiness, while tiny bits of lobster made us question its $26 price tag. Better was duck two ways, in which an unfortunately lukewarm and very firm magret was joined by a crisp, hot confited leg with deliciously rich parnsip purée and braised red cabbage.
Despite the gaffes, good times are ensured by generous, one-third-bottle “quartinos,” and a well-priced bottle list, with several examples available in the under-$50 price range. We were comforted during a long wait by a bottle of Casalfarneto Verdicchio, cheap and cheerful at $36. Also good: heavy pours of Clos Roche Sauvignon Blanc for $11.
Unsurprisingly, Lampert’s soups are a highlight of the menu: this restaurant follows her Ladle of Love, a successful gourmet takeout shop nearby. We were smitten with a lush black-truffle salsify soup, in which the starchy, mildly oyster-ish root was puréed into a pool of cream-colored velvet, hauntingly flecked by black truffles. It would also be a mistake to pass up side dishes of deep-fried, truffled chickpeas. We could have eaten them forever—even in lieu of mains.
Desserts at Café of Love are charmingly made in-house and are much simpler than the preceding courses. Best was a cozy spiced croissant bread pudding, whose straightforward hominess reinforced this restaurant’s love theme. Worst was an unnecessarily flaming chocolate crème brûlée, whose thick sugar shell had burnt to bitterness.
All true, but, blunders aside, Café of Love is a cheerful place, with a bustling welcome that transcends all off-notes. It’s one of those happy if slightly inept places to which you’ll always return with a shrug, even if only to sit and enjoy the scene with a bowl of soup and a bottle of wine.
Cafe of Love
38 E Main St, Mount Kisco
Hours: Lunch Tues to Sun 11 am–5 pm; dinner Tues to Thurs 5 pm–10 pm, Fri and Sat 5 pm–11 pm, Sun 5 pm–9 pm; Appetizers: $9-$29; entrées: $15-$38; desserts: $8
â˜…â˜…â˜…â˜…—Outstanding â˜…â˜…â˜…—Very Good
Photos by Cathy Pinsky