After properly cooking a lobster, its once-brown exoskeleton turns bright red, letting chefs know that it's both ready to serve and profoundly embarrassed for showing up without pants. Make a meal of deliciously mortified seafood with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of seafood, steaks, and drinks at Cafe West in Trenton.
Chefs corral fresh ingredients from both the sea and dry land to sate hungry diners at Cafe West. The Cafe West sampler ($14) settles disagreements over appetizer selections with a spread of duck egg rolls, flash-fried calamari, and conch fritters trained in conflict mediation. Order jumbo sea scallops or shrimp lightly battered and fried, char-grilled, or scampi style from a sizzling sauté pan ($20 each). Fresh-baked plates of tilapia Duvall sport suits of king-crab meat and alfredo sauce ($19), and pairs of half-pound Maine lobster tails dazzle appetites with argyle grill lines accessorized with real butter cravats ($38). Landlubbers savor the one-pound marbled rib eye ($22) and a selection of lighter fare sates airlubbers with fresh-vegetable primavera ($9) or fried fish tacos ($10).
Circular mirrors hang behind the bar, whispering words of encouragement to tenders as they serve wine and imported beers to diners sitting beneath the shells and starfish dangling from the ceiling. Paintings and windowpanes decorated with marine life rest above earth-toned booths, and an intimate outdoor patio tempts guests on picturesque days.
Once fresh catches arrive to Cafe West, it's up to you how they're made. Diners can choose from 10 preparation styles for 6 seafood classics, from deep-frying mahi-mahi to stirring perch into scampi. Of course, the chefs whip up their own creations, too, such as mac 'n' cheese made from cavatappi pasta, succulent scallops and shrimp, and house alfredo sauce.
Besides maritime options, Cafe West spotlights plenty of land-based proteins, including chargrilled 1-pound ribeyes and blackened chicken smothered in housemade pineapple salsa. Bartenders complement meals with an extensive selection of wine and brews both imported and local, some of which they showcase at frequent tasting events.
Circular mirrors back the bar, while the windowpanes in the casual dining room sport ocean-themed decorations, including diagrams explaining the differences between public and private schools of fish. Outdoor seating sets a relaxed mood during warm months.