Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oh Cafe Eccell.... WHY?

This post was meant to be a review of the fabulous Crush in Seattle. But that will have to wait. First off I don't have the time, at the moment, to give Crush the full write-up it deserves and second, well...this just can't wait.

The Lovely Spouse and I went to dinner at Cafe Eccell in College Station on Tuesday because Madden's is closed on Tuesdays and we were in the mood for some tastey, tastey seafood that night instead of waiting for Thursday. I have fond memories of Cafe Eccell's seared scallops. So The Lovely Spouse made reservations for Tuesday and off we went.

Imagine our surprise to find we didn't need reservations on the second day of the Fall Semester. Also imagine our surprise to find a New Menu. Um...OK...Cafe Eccell has changed their menus over the years.... But wait! Now it's one page for food and two separate sheets for wine and drinks. Um...'kaaaaaay. This is different. Wait! No scallops! No Gulf of Mexico red drum! What?! The sesame seared tuna is still on the menu. But most of the menu is dedicated And sandwiches. And salads. CRAP! It's the lunch menu, now being served all the time. [And, for what it's worth, they're still serving the unsustainable Chilean Sea Bass - something I highly recommend avoiding in order to discourage restaurants from serving a fish that will likely be extinct in less than a decade if fished at the same levels.]

To make matter even worse there were technical problems with the food. Rice should never give your dental work a run for its money. However the rice served with the tuna was desiccated and should have been started over from scratch. The salad served over the rice was spiced with what must have been purified capsaicin - rather unexpected on a predominantly savory dish. The guacamole was...odd and flavorless given the rest of the dish. At least the tuna was good. Even if the restaurant was LOUD.

Cafe Eccell has changed its name as well. It's now Cafe Eccell Pizza and Wine Bistro. I suppose the owners, the Dallis family, hired some overpriced consultant to come up with this. And it wouldn't surprise me in the least to find they've changed it again in a few months to something like a gastropub, as the trend seems to be across the country. I suppose they also believe that changing the menu to a far more casual one and focusing on the alcoholic beverages they'll attract more people from Northgate. Maybe. One thing is certain - they've lost a lot of their high dollar dinner patrons. The faces that were there on Tuesday were far younger and in much larger, louder groups. A number of them were even sharing meals.

What will become of Cafe Eccell? Not sure. It's something to ponder while enjoying a meal at Madden's.

1 comment:

  1. I remember when Cafe Eccell was THE place in town for a nice dinner out. Last time my husband and I ate there, the food was mediocre and there was a large roach hanging out on the wall next to our table. When pointed out to the manager, she replied, "Oh... well, that's just a tree roach. They just come in from outside." And then she walked away. We haven't been back.