There I was, sandwiched in between some of my worst restaurant pet peeves (parents at the next table encouraging their child to stop screaming by encouraging it to watch a video on a laptop, and the dull ambiance killing roar of an overly loud refrigeration unit) silently cursing my editor Joel Dyer for suggesting The Sun Rose Cafe in downtown Longmont. It was making me crazy, because the cafe was perched on the edge of wonderful. The long, highceilinged space had a lovely skylight and walls lined with local art, but half of it was filled with the distracting clangs and whirrs of a deli counter cold case and kitchen prep areas. The ceilings had a lovely patterned tile, and the menu descriptions read nicely: “Stuffed Dates with Gorgonzola Cream – Organic Medjool dates stuffed with Marcona almonds are wrapped in bacon, grilled and served with our Gorgonzola cream sauce - 7.95” it cooed. But with entrée prices on the dinner menu ranging $12- $18, it’s a hard sell to enjoy a dinner that also doubles as a tinnitus simulator.
Then the food came, and everything changed.
Why? It was enormous.
The beef short rib ($17.95) was nearly a foot long, seated atop so many mashed Yukon gold potatoes that the seasonal vegetable on the side required a side plate. I’m all about Boulder’s approach to foodieism, but being a cycle-commuter, I’m American as McDonald’s Apple Pie when it comes to portion-sizes, and the sight of a well prepared meal that I wouldn’t desire two of for only twice the price was fantastic.
My dining companion’s chicken and spinach alfredo, ($14.95) — a dish she insisted on ordering despite lactose intolerance because she is “a consenting adult” — was also of the Walmart school of plating.
And as a special bonus, unlike most large portions, both were also quite tasty.
The beef short rib was a rich and tender delight drizzled with a veal demi glaze, and its accompanying green beans were crispy and flavorful.
The chicken and spinach alfredo had a rich, lightly smoky flavor, and the romano cheese sauce really popped with the inclusion of spinach and diced tomatoes.
To drink, we had a “chocolate banana,” ($9) a black and tan made with a bottle of Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and a second of Well’s Banana Bread Beer, because at the Sun Rose Café, even one beer is actually two.
The menu also has a variety of soups, sandwiches and salads, as well as a breakfast menu packed with omelettes, benedicts and egg panini that is available until 11 a.m. on weekdays and noon on Saturdays. The Sun Rose Cafe is closed on Sundays.
Though the ambiance was one of light disorientation caused by ambient sound, The Sun Rose Cafe delivered on the food end, making the experience a pleasant one on the whole. But oh how much more pleasant it could be with a quieter fridge.