Cosmo's Caffe at Gourmet's Market
Critic's star breakdown
- Food: 3.5
- Service: 3.5
- Atmosphere: 3.5
- Overall: 3.5
Cosmo’s Caffe is a bistro-style cafe that operates within Gourmet’s Market in Bearden, serving breakfast and lunch, coffees, teas and bakery goods. All these years, I’ve been unaware of the existence of both the market and the cafe until recently, when, like Brigadoon, they both appeared to me and beckoned me to pay a visit. The Grub Spouse was toiling away at work, so I was flying solo.
I had missed the peak of lunch hour, but there was still a steady trickle of customers on hand when I rolled in. The flow of diner traffic is a little counterintuitive, but I caught on quickly enough. A large chalk-written menu runs floor to ceiling just to the left of the main entrance, but once you’ve figured out what you want, you have to go back to the counter just inside the front doors, place your order and then pick your way back through the folks standing in front of the menu to get to the main dining area in back. Additional seating flanks the market portion of the business in the front half of the building.
The breakfast side of the menu generally offers several different egg-based entries include three eggs scrambled with goat cheese; a breakfast burrito with egg, bacon, onion, jalapeno and more; a quiche of the day and six different three-egg omelets. The breakfast menu is rounded out by items like meat sides, toast and bagels, oatmeal, granola and yogurt.
Breakfast is part of their all-day menu, but the more lunchy selections start off with market salads like Caesar, Greek, chef’s and a smoked salmon plate served on greens. The rest of the menu consists of hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, a trio of paninis, soup and wraps. There are also daily specials, including pasta on Tuesdays, Mexican on Fridays and home-style cooking on Thursdays. I was there on a Thursday, and the special was pot roast with potatoes.
I gave serious consideration to the Reuben and the Market Delight — grilled bacon and melted gruyere cheese on a milano roll with a sun-dried tomato paste. Other notable listings were the Fake Steak (grilled mushrooms and red onion), a smoked turkey and cream cheese sandwich, and the smoked salmon sandwich. I chose a chicken and avocado panini, mainly because I found myself suddenly craving avocado. Sandwiches are served with a pickle and Zapp’s parmesan potato chips.
I took a seat and goofed around online until my order came up, which took a little longer to arrive than I had expected. A staff member does bring your food out to you. Overall, I had no major issues with the panini, although the milano roll on which it was pressed was rather unimpressive. The bread’s toast-like texture was too dry and crusty, even for a panini.
However, the chicken, avocado-strip and provolone ingredients were satisfying enough. The menu had mentioned ranch dressing being an ingredient, but I did not detect any. I felt some sort of condiment dressing was needed to truly complete this sandwich, be it ranch dressing or even a pesto spread of some kind.
After finishing off my meal — sandwich, chips, pickle and all — I went back and picked over the few sweet baked goods I saw left on display. I picked out a chocolate chip scone, which struck me as a little stale around the edges, but it softened up toward the middle, balancing out the experience.
I left without Cosmo’s Caffe having made an overwhelming impression, although I felt other selections might have had more of an impact. Perhaps some day, I’ll make another appearance and put my theory to the test.
© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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