If humankind never learned to play with its food, it would never have learned to play with its ingredients, and the world would be one bereft bowl of gruel. For $15, today's Groupon gets you $30 worth of reimagined American cuisine and drinks at Café Dufrain, a waterfront restaurant in Harbor Island.
Café Dufrain prides itself on its knowledgeable serving staff, which knows the fresh, local food-filled menu better than it knows itself. A server might recommend the Kurobuto pork cheeks to start, paired nicely as they are with fried green tomatoes and smoked-bacon marmalade ($7.50), or the warm confit of organic mushrooms with roasted black-garlic cloves on a grilled baguette ($8). The organic smart chicken is apparently not so smart, as it finds itself fried and accompanied with buttermilk waffles ($20). The hot-and-sour noodles with lotus root and white miso ($18) provide culinary shelter for vegetarians. Finish this gourmet spread with a slice of carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting ($7) or a pineapple right-side-up cake ($7). The staff would be happy to match your meal with any of the custom-tailored American, European, and South American vintages on the expansive wine menu.
With a European-inspired dining room—think warm hues, hanging lamps, artwork, and clean modern lines, sans French-style cigarette smog—and eco-inspired cuisine, Café Dufrain once again reinvents its perpetually redesigned restaurant and night spot. The seasonally changing menu, three quarters of which is grown sustainably, organically, or locally, aspires to global tastes. Throw in free WiFi, climate-controlled patio seating, and waterfront views, and you might find yourself pitching a tent made out of old magazines and staying for a few weeks.
The St. Petersburg Times gives Café Dufrain three stars out of four, Creative Loafing named it a 2006 Best Of Winner and gives it five stars, Yelpers give it 4.5 stars, and Urbanspooners like it to the tune of 81%.
- Beautiful space, inspired and talented chef, very competent service, terrific views. – Chloe Frank, Urbanspoon
- Servers here know the food, are loyal to the mission at hand and are comfortable in their own skin. – Laura Reiley, St. Petersburg Times
- Café Dufrain has all the qualities of a "hidden gem." Few people know about it. The prices are surprisingly low. The place is off - but not too far from - the beaten path. And the food is damn good. As soon as word gets out, Harbour Island will have to prepare for invasion. – Brian Ries, Creative Loafing