Original posting on Oct 1, 2008 in the Daytona Beach News Journal
Hopping spot relaxes by day
Artwork for sale, video frames showing black-and-white movies on the wall at each booth, glitzy chandeliers, an eye-popping checkers table with red high-back ornate chairs and a deep bar greet diners at Caffeine Bistro & Wine Bar in Ormond Beach. The clean-as-a whistle appearance invites you right in, and, at lunchtime, paper covers over the tablecloths keep the feel relaxed. The waitress said there’s only one menu right now; same prices for lunch and supper, she said. She also said, “Sit where you like,” so staff writer Audrey Parente — and her lunch buddy, Lawrence Bennett — picked a booth.
Q. What’s on the menu? The list offers a wide variety: Sesame-spiced Ahi to prime rib to lobster mac and cheese, which next time I might try. For this time, I started with the clam soup (Boston style) which was generous with really big chunks of clam, and I had to try the crispy Monte Cristo sandwich.
If you’ve never had a Monte Cristo, you might not know it’s ham and turkey or chicken, maybe with cheese, all dipped in egg and fried like French toast. If it’s done right, it’s exquisite. This was. Usually there’s maple syrup, which there was, but also raspberry coulis, a thick non-syrupy sauce.
Bennett had the soup, followed by two crab cakes with sweet potato fries and field greens. My meal would have come with the fries, but I was allowed to trade for Caesar salad. The salad had roasted pepper pieces, making the dish very colorful.
Q. How was the service? The service was fine, but very laid back and it took us more than an hour to get through. It was enjoyable, though. The menu offered “desserts: daily specials; ask your server,” but we were too late as it was.
The place used to be an English tea room on one side and a dance studio on the other, now opened up to a large affair. It’s a shame there were only customers at four of what seemed like several dozen tables and booths. No one was at the bar. Bennett said he’s driven by at night and seen the joint hopping.
Q. What did you spend? Cheap this was not: $31.95, which included a Yuengling beer and a water. A tip of $6 pushed it to $37.95.
Caffeine Bistro 49 W. Granada Blvd., Ormond Beach
& Wine Bar
HOURS: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Saturday
THIS AND THAT: No liquor is served, only beer and wine. Street-side parking is available, plus a parking lot in back off New Britain Avenue and one a half-block away. Restaurant is on one level, and parking in back offers the easiest access.