Friday, April 11, 2008

Why We Love Café Deli

This conversation (mostly) happened two Saturdays ago at one of my favorite lunch spots, Café Deli:

Me: Yeah, we'd like to get the vegetable lemon grass curry.
Cook: We don't have vegetables.

Me: You're out?

Cook: Ya.

Me: What?

Cook: -- (staring at me)

Me: Uh, what happened?

Cook: It's very busy.

Me: I mean, what about just broccoli, can we get broccoli with garlic sauce?

Cook: We don't have broccoli.
Me: --

Cook: --

Me: What if I ordered beef and broccoli?

Cook: --
Me: Can we get tofu lemon grass curry?

Cook: (yelling to the other cooks) TOFU LEMON GRASS!

Me: Nice.

That was the third time I'd been there that week. So sad. They get a fair amount of my lunch money. The food is SOOOO good though. Its a true hole-in-the-wall and they'll pull a quirky bit of business on you like not accepting credit cards on the weekend. Whyyyy?! Well, the manager takes the wireless modem/card reader home on the weekends. So, bring cash if you're going on a Saturday (closed Sundays). They do as they please.

Café Deli bills itself as a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant and these are the best dishes. Lots of pad thai, peanut or cashew dishes and lemon grass curry. They have a fair amount of vegetarian food, and I don't know if they run out of vegetables often; only happened that once. The tofu lemon grass curry tofu is the best of that bunch. Simple, with just steamed rice, tofu and a little vinegar on the side. Not a fan of the vinegar, but the tofu is plentiful and almost slightly burnt. There is a smoky quality to all the food cooked at the Deli. The portions are large and the service is pretty fast. They get you in and out for lunch quickly. There is some seating inside, but space is very limited as the Deli gets very busy during the lunch hour. Luckily there is some seating outside. Most folks seem to order take-out. Give it a try!

Café Deli is located at 740 6th Street NW in Chinatown/PQ. Its across the street from the old Coyote Ugly (now RNR Lounge). It's open until 8pm every day except Sunday.