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Monday, Sept. 16, 2013

Café Perrin at the heart of the Heights

Fresh baked and gluten free

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The neighborhood around Vliet and 60th streets, the main intersection of Washington Heights, is a great place to be hungry. Feel like gelato? You can grab a cup at Cold Spoons Gelato. Up for fine dining? Meritage offers superb entrées from a seasonal menu of locally sourced ingredients. Highlands Café is open for breakfast, lunch and—most days of the week—dinner. Papa Joe’s Pizza is just down the street.

And, on the corner storefront that once housed Suzy’s Cream Cheesecakes, sits Café Perrin, an airy space with big glass windows, tile floors and a patio for eating out in good weather. Although the interior is dominated by a counter filled with bakery and desserts—including varieties of Danish, crème brûlée and cheesecake—and topped by big glass jars with oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies, diners are waited on at tables by friendly servers. Café Perrin is family run and the owner sometimes emerges from the kitchen in his white chef’s smock to greet customers and ask for opinions on their meals.

The menu is largely gluten free and the major food groups are covered with red meat, chicken, fish and vegetables all represented. Breakfast is built around an array of attractively served omelets, including such unusual choices as tomato, asiago and pesto or chihuahua cheese, chorizo and avocado (all under $10), Wisconsin-grown oatmeal with golden raisins ($8.95) and—the most expensive morning item—coconut flower pancakes served with choice of bacon, sausage or veggie sausage ($11). The ingredients taste fresh and the toast is hearty.

Lunch and dinner are drawn from a menu of light, tasty selections, among them healthy salads (all under $14, unless you add grilled chicken for an additional $4) and many sandwiches and wraps. Try the grass-fed burger on an egg bun, the Rueben with slow-roasted corned beef and house-made dressing or the pulled pork with house-made barbeque sauce (most sandwiches around $10). The tilapia, served in soft taco shells with Asian slaw, is a treat ($12). For heavier appetites, the menu includes a short list of entrées served after 5 p.m., including portabello mushroom caps stuffed with mushrooms, cream cheese and shallots ($15), pan-seared scallops over angel hair pasta ($19), beef tenderloin medallions ($22) and a daily risotto special.

Brunch, served Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., reprises the weekday breakfast and lunch selections with a few specials. Bakery and desserts are made in the kitchen with no preservatives. Café Perrin offers a full bar and superb food in a warm setting at modest prices. And if you’re still hungry after leaving, you’re in the right neighborhood.

 

Café Perrin

5901 W. Vliet St.

$$

414-727-0860

cafeperrin.com

Handicap access: yes

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