One of the best parts about living in the Fan is being able to walk to so many places, especially a plethora of really awesome restaurants. So when Table 9, the bistro at the corner of Meadow and Park, closed, it was a sad day. Who knew something even better would replace it?
Garnett's Café is just that. With its cheery teal exterior, kitschy interior and approachable menu, there is much to like about this affordable and appealing sandwich shop. Thoughtful, healthful touches like the option of gluten-free bread and a selection of Boylan's natural sodas might clue a diner in to the fact that this is a nonvegetarian sibling of Ipanema Café. The excellent desserts, and baked muffins and scones that are served starting at 7 a.m., would be another huge clue. And where else can you find Cornish pasties (a filled pastry similar to an empanada)?
The open kitchen is the size of a loveseat, so the offerings are creative within the boundaries of what is possible. You've gotta love a place that doesn't try to be all things to all people and is content serving a perfect cobb salad.
If all things retro are trendy, then Garnett's just might be the most avant-garde little joint around. I ordered an old-fashioned favorite, the croque monsieur, on another visit. Stuffed generously with Black Forest ham and tangy Gruyère on grilled Italian bread, it was ladled with just the right amount of Mornay sauce — making me an instant fan. The side of black-eyed-pea salad with bits of red pepper sealed the deal. The drawbacks are nominal. The diminutive space limits seating, and no overtly dinner-style entrées are offered. Still, with its beadboard walls and decorative plates, this is one restaurant that is just as good as it is charming.
2001 Park Ave., 367-7909
Prices: Coffee and baked goods $1.35 to $4.50; sandwiches $5 to $8.50; desserts $4 to $5.
Hours: Coffee and pastries from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday to Sunday; luncheonette menu from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.