Café Rouge sprinkles worldly charm all over its selection of salads, sandwiches, and house-made entrees. Culinary concoctions, such as a warm poached egg and crispy bacon salad ($9) and olive-oil-baked garlic and chili shrimp ($10), prepare flavor savorers for main dishes, including crispy salmon on sautéed asparagus with lemon and tarragon mayonnaise ($17), and shrimp and scallops over honey Sriracha fettuccine ($17). Just like the young substitute French teacher, Café Rouge is upscale and European, but at the same time, laid-back and soothing.
At Green Lemon Cafe, ceramic salt- and peppershakers masquerade as pairs of flamingos, crabs, and dairy cows. The figurines mirror the café's harmonious atmosphere: on any given day, patrons munch Fresh-inspired café fare, chat with owner Amanda Volence, or sprout goatees while browsing original artwork.
In the kitchen, chefs pack Boar's Head meats into savory crepes and paninis such as the black forest ham and swiss panini or the raspberry-chicken crepe with jack cheese and spinach. Alternately, cooks fill the apple-crisp crepe—1 of more than 30 crepe options—with cinnamon, apples, caramel, and graham-cracker crumbs.
The earthiness of freshly ground espresso mingles with the buttery scent of crepes cooking on the griddle all day at 407 Cafe. Chefs fold the lacelike golden circlets of batter around fillings such as roast beef and sharp cheddar cheese or Nutella and strawberries. With a sizzling drumroll, a panini press shuts on sandwiches until mozzarella cheese melts perfectly around grilled chicken, fresh spinach, and sweet yellow raisins. In the kitchen, cooks craft gelato, a delicate process of folding together eggs, milk, sugar, and loads of fruit. Glass vases on the white dining-room tables brim with coffee beans and bright-green stalks of bamboo like the diorama a biologist makes to get a PhD.
La Crepe en Haut has crafted fine French and Nouvelle cuisine for more than three decades. Customer's senses pique upon entry into La Crepe's elegant dining room, enveloped in warm lighting, lunar-dust-lined walls, and rich green accents, before being greeted by a menu of entrees made from fresh meats and seafood in a variety of traditional French preparations. Vichyssoise, a cold potato and leak soup ($8.50), sets the stage for the main event of blackened fillet with blue cheese and cabernet glaze ($36.95), or canard à l'orange or au poivre rouge, a roasted duckling bathed in orange sauce or peppercorn brandy ($29.95). La Crepe en Haut slakes fermented thirst with an extensive wine list, which doubles as a yearbook for varietals graduating this year.
Inside Wow Fika—whose name roughly translates to “coffee break” in Swedish—cups of espresso steam atop handmade European wood tables. Though the chefs change up the menu of continental café fare approximately every six weeks, past dishes have included swedish-meatball sandwiches and chicken salad among other comfort-food classics. In addition, a Swedish pastry chef fills the kitchen with sweet confections including traditional Swedish and Romanian cakes and creative ice-cream treats. For catered affairs, Wow Fika's culinary experts can concoct themed prix fixe menus that include all Italian or Greek dishes, or only foods that begin with the letter “Q.”
Slinging heaps of hash browns and flipping piles of pancakes are IHOP's signature moves at its more than 1,400 locations throughout America, which serve a slew of breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Thou shalt give in to the Bacon Temptation omelette ($9.29), a fluffy pancake batter shell commanding delicious compliance of its faction of bacon, cheese, and diced tomatoes. The recently reinstated All-You-Can-Eat-Pancakes (starting at $4.99; limited time only), accompanying a choice of combos such as the Pick-A-Pancake Combo ($8.29), stocks patrons stomach shelves with a never-ending supply of syrupy dough Frisbees. Evanesce into the pot roast melt ($8.29), a tender beef roast with caramelized onions swimming in beef and mushroom gravy and nostalgia. Waistline-watchers can select from a bevy of Simple & Fit options under 600 calories, including the veggie omelette ($8.59), the Simply Chicken sandwich ($7.99), or the house salad ($3.99).