This place is beautiful, with a perfect glow of pastel yellow. Not too girly, just right for every occasion. I noticed a father with a small child, maybe his daughter, chatting excitedly while waiting for their order and another group, about eight, also were engaged in conversation. I thought to myself as I enjoyed fresh homemade bread, “how revitalizing this place can be.” I remember half way into my dinner, I looked up and noticed the father and daughter – and the group still engaged with each other. No wonder locals like coming here! Some well-known restaurant may “accidently” serve bitter coffee for fast moving services, but Village Café is not about fast services, it’s about enjoying great Italian food, in the treasured company of loved ones.
Their lentil soup had a perfect creamy and chunky texture, and was filled with seasonal vegetables. The lentils were cooked on a controlled time. As lentils cook in liquid, they break apart (losing shape), making it a thicker and creamier texture. But this soup was a mesh of thoroughly-cooked whole legumes with dissolved ones. Lentils soup is an excellent source of fiber as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, and iron.
Village Wings ($7.95) comes with celery, carrots, and chile ancho ranch dressing. An Ancho chile pepper is a dried, ground fruit of the Capsicum annum. The product is made from poblano chile peppers grown in Mexico. The chile has a mild paprika flavor, with sweet to moderate heat. Their mild wings and dressing offers a unique taste and a small twist to Italian cuisine.
Chicken marsala ($16.95) was cooked in Marsala with porcini mushrooms, broccoli florets and roasted garlic mashed potatoes. The key ingredient which gives chicken marsala its characteristic sweet flavor and aroma is the marsala wine. Chicken breasts, without skin or bones, are pounded flat to an even thickness. The chicken is then lightly coated and quickly browned in a mixture of butter and/or olive oil, then removed from the pan. The oil and juices are used to sauté the mushrooms and the shallots. Marsala sauce is chicken stock, marsala wine, and spices which are reduced over heat with the mushrooms and shallots. The chicken is cooked in the sauce. I am not sure if the chef uses the same course of action but I do know if I were around the area I will without a doubt have some Chicken Marsala. And those mash potatoes were excellent!
Pork tenderloin ($19.95) is served in a ginger caramel sauce with apples and roasted garlic. This dish is excellent; I believe the highlight was the blissful taste of the ginger caramel sauce. I am not 100% sure how they created this sauce but I believe they simmered heavy cream with grated ginger, also caramelizing sugar and lemon, then straining the cream, whisking in the caramel.
Their Tiramisu was “Eccellente y Squisito”, I recommend it! This is a restaurant that I recommend when looking for an enjoyable meal in Miami Shores.
I had a small tête-à-tête with Executive Sous Chef Micheal Garcia. Mr. Garcia started as a dishwasher at Village Café. Looking over his shoulder, observing the Chef for some time, he asked if he can have a little cross-training. Like a sail boat in high wind, he worked side by side for 3 years as a cook. Then about seven months ago he was promoted to Executive Sous Chef. He says, “if you get burnt once, get burnt twice, three times, get it right. Execute. Execute every single time. Don’t lose your spirit.” After feeling Mr. Garcia’s passion for food and how hard he has worked, I left with a warm tummy and I was ready to utilize my education and chopping skills.
9540 NE 2nd Avenue Miami Shores, Florida 33138 305-759-2211 – www.evillagecafe.com
By Raquel Ortega