by Kat Robinson
I missed the little coffeeshop in Hillcrest where my peeps would gather on the odd Friday night to sit around and commiserate. Sure, there are all sorts of places you can go to have coffee in the evenings, but finding a place open past 9pm that didn't care if you hung out on the furniture and took up space for hours at a time?
So I'm glad to see The House go into the old Sufficient Grounds/Laughing Moon Cafe slot on North Palm. Sure, the location is plagued by a lack of decent parking (and believe me, I did notice the new fence put up across the side of the Kroger parking lot), but it has charm in the way only an old, beloved house can have.
The food, by the way? Well, read about that Surf and Turf burger (above) and more, after the jump.
The one downside I can see is the current lack of table service. Everyone orders at the counter right now. I don't know for certain if that's going to change, but I think it might -- especially because servers did come to our table several times -- to deliver food, to check on us, that sort of thing.
My companion’s Surf and Turf Burger ($9) was delivered with a decent amount of fries on the side. The smattering of shrimp and red onions on top were pleasant enough, but the burger itself was a rather well spiced patty of meat with hints of Cajun spice and lots of black pepper and salt, almost to the point of being too salty. The spicy mayo was good, too -- but there was no sign of the lettuce and tomato advertised in the menu. The herb fries were definitely fresh-cut on-site and sprinkled with said herbs and salt.
My Lamb Burger ($9) was a rather nice treat. The side salad offered with it was nothing more than mixed greens in a house vinaigrette, but the burger itself was quite tasty, with lots of mint and red wine overtones. What really made the burger, though, was the generous portion of sweet caramelized onion on top that brought together Gouda cheese and the bun quite nicely.
I can’t let pass mention of the buns -- all “House-made” on-site. The rustic country-type rolls are sweet and coarse, and made a good pairing for the Lamb Burger, but for the Surf and Turf couldn’t hold together long enough to get the sandwich to the mouth. Didn't matter, it still tasted great -- just meant we had to use one of those fantastic modern forks they supplied to eat with.
The barista (drink maker, I guess) puts a mean head of froth (not whipped cream, yay!) on cappuccinos and such, and there's $1 Pabst Blue Ribbon cans featured on the wipeboard. No desserts yet -- though.
The House is located on the street just west of the Hillcrest Kroger, less than half a block south of Kavanaugh. It's open Tuesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 1 a.m., closed Sunday. (501) 663-4500.