If you are looking for a place to get some great small plates, salads, soups and amazing desserts served by friendly staff and made by an approachable chef, then check out Kaleidoscope Cafe in Lawrenceville.
Nestled a few blocks north of Butler St. in a residential neighborhood, Kaleidoscope Cafe brings a unique dining experience to the ‘Burgh. Casual, American food in a laid-back environment. The Cafe was small, but colorful and had a welcoming, eclectic vibe. I was worried that it might be a bit on the pretentious, hipster side of things, but it didn’t feel that way at all.
For dinner we all started out with either soup or salad. The soup of the day was meat chili, that a friend said was good, not great, but good. The salads however were excellent. Each made with a homemade dressing. I ordered the Farmhouse salad with the house-made balsamic. Fresh greens, thin pears, roasted (AMAZING) earthy tasting beets, walnuts and lots of gorgonzola made this salad a must. All of the salads looked amazing and the cilantro citrus dressing was intriguing. The salads also came with some warmed pita triangles and some sort of incredible nut butter. Don’t miss out on that nut butter! I would go back for a big salad paired with a nice wine/beer. It is BYOB, so plan ahead people!
Up to the entree course everything was quite good, but the entrees all fell a bit short which was a let down. My Gnocchi Nirvana with soyrizo was probably the best of the bunch. It was good, but not great. The gnocchi were clearly homemade, but very, very, very soft and squishy with a light fry on the outside. I would liken them to small mashed potato nuggets before I would call them gnocchi. The sauce was fine, but kinda boring. There wasn’t much soyrizo, but what was there was good. The portions were the right size, not to big and not to small, but the food was just okay. Those I was with- the carnivorous type- were equally as, shall I say, bored with their entrees. A friend who had the basa, which is some type of white fish, didn’t even finish it saying that it was soggy and tasteless. Yikes.
So, after a lackluster main course, I wanted to see if we could end the night on a happier note. Another Urbanspoon reviewer said that the pear dessert was on the mark. So, I ordered one for our table and we were all impressed with the flavors and craftsmanship of the dessert. A medium poached pear sitting on a red wine reduction accompanied by candied walnuts and a rum mascarpone quenelle. It was stupid good. Rich and satisfying. Not cloyingly sweet like some dessert, but had a great depth of flavor and the perfect way to close a meal.
My recommendation would be to come for salads and desserts and bring your own wine. And if you are feeling adventurous and want to try an entree that we didn’t try, they have a special on Tues, Wed and Thursday that when your buy a small plate and two entrees you get a free bottle of wine. That’s got date night written all over it.
Nice servers, friendly chef (who did come greet us at our table), interesting decor, warm atmosphere, awesome starters and finishers.
Overall Grade: B-