Cafe Europa: Everything Brunch Should BeDec 20th, 2011 | By Rae Alton | Category: Eatsboro
Summertime beckons of many traditions: flip flops, cannonballs, drinking lemonade and social sundries in the cool shade of a porch, and catching fireflies in Mason jars as the sun goes out with an orange-pink bang. My friends and I started a new summer tradition in 2011 at Cafe Europa. We could be found nearly every Sunday lackadaisically sipping coffee, sopping up the last bit of runny golden yolk from an Eggs Benedict, and not-so-lackadaisically convincing our toddlers that going for a swim in the large patio fountain would be a poor idea. Okay, maybe that’s just my toddler.
Cafe Europa is truly fortunate not to have been struck by the Downtown Greensboro Restaurant Plague of 2011, which claimed no less than four businesses. If the food alone is a standard by which it caught immunity in a shot-to-hell economy, it is deserved. To make a real dork of myself (not that it should come as a shock,) I have to admit that the Eggs Benedict at Cafe Europa, served with hash browns and fresh fruit, inspired me to master the art of poaching eggs at home. ‘Inspired’ doesn’t quite say it inasmuch as I was frustrated by a persistent food craving – a craving that could only be sated on a paltry and unacceptable once-a-week basis. Slicing into one of those plush eggs was like watching morning break in time-lapse and seeing the sunshine fall into every cranny of my plate. It had to be mine NOW, and at midnight, and maybe again at 2am just to get a head start on tomorrow’s breakfast.
I cannot for the life of me replicate the velveteen Hollandaise sauce. It’s devastating.
After mastering poached eggs at home, or at least learning how to not make a yolky mess of my stove top, I moved onto bigger and tastier things: the Croque Madame. If you’ve never been given a plate with a steak-knife with which to wield your salad, you have been missing out, mon ami. The bleu cheese wedge salad is a new craving and pairs perfectly with the warm, melty sandwich. A Croque Madame is traditionally made with sliced ham and topped with Gruyère cheese and a fried egg; Cafe Europa’s sandwich is embellished with Béchamel sauce and smells positively heavenly. I always make the mistake of starting with the salad, a meal unto itself, but it’s worth it for the crumbles of blue cheese that sneak into the melting layers of Gruyère along the way.
Brunch at Europa is extremely popular in the warmer months, so don’t be surprised to find a full patio if you don’t arrive closer to 11am than 2pm. It will indeed be very interesting to see how this tradition translates in the Winter months. Something tells me that new cravings never wait long! I think I’ll try the Good Morning Rudy next weekend, a dish that borrows the owner’s surname and features eggs scrambled into a fluffy cloud with cream cheese and dill.
I’d be horribly remiss if I didn’t mention that Europa caters to the grown-up wine crowd every Wednesday night when it offers bottles at half-price. Also notable is the ice skating rink next door at Festival Park. I wonder if those two worlds ever collide, literally collide, and how entertaining it could be to watch… Well, I know what I’m doing this Wednesday night.
Phone: (336) 389-1010
Brunch Hours: Every Sunday, 11am-2pm
Cafe Hours: daily until 10pm
Bar Hours: Sun-Tue til 1am, Wednesday-Sat til 2am.
Pricing: $6.50 – $11
Vegetarian friendly: Not quite; only 1 plate features fruit and a wedge salad alone.
Family Friendly: Yes
Take Out/Dine In: Both
Overall Rating: 10/10