Boulder’s Gindi Café has a European influence exemplified by offering both food and ambience best described as fresh and modern. One is certainly glad this eatery chooses to emulate these continental qualities instead of, say, those of the Inquisition or Serge Gainsbourg.
Gindi offers up a lunchtime slate of such light meal standbys as soup, salads and sandwiches. Dinner is available from Thursday to Saturday night with a reasonably priced menu in the $9.50-and-up range featuring burgers, stuffed squash and ahi tuna. The star breakfast attraction is the three-egg sandwich topped with spreads that include sundried tomato and chipotle aioli. There’s also the all-important espresso bar to satisfy one’s caffeine cravings.
At the onset of our lunch, friend Kon briefly waxed nostalgic upon the arrival of his $3.75 cup of rosemary chicken soup. He explained that his mother was German and made soups like this one with a clear European-style broth. The taste was clean, without a trace of fat or impurities. Bits of carrot were appealingly soft and sweet, and the herbal aroma gave it greater depth than a typical broth.
When Kon and I meet, we typically discuss healthy eating. Cardiac well-being was one of my drivers for ordering the $6.50 chickpea and spinach salad. The spinach, rich in heart-healthy potassium and folates, consisted of tender baby leaves dotted with diminutive but creamy chickpeas. The dressing pulled this simple mix together with just the right balance of red onion and cumin. Add too much of this spice, and the flavor overwhelms (too much cumin can ruin chili), but here it was a perfect accent to the less-assertive tones of the vegetables.
Kon’s main course was the $6.95 white meat tuna salad on multigrain bread. Better than what Mom used to make, this version didn’t go overboard on the mayo and relied on the crunch of fresh celery and intriguing spicing. It had a cinnamon-like flavor that played nicely off the fish and the bread’s nutty qualities.
I had a $4.50 half Cuban sandwich, served up panini-style. It’s hard to dislike the grill marks and crusty exterior of pressed bread, and this was no exception. The pork filling was fine, although the promise of the meat being prepared inhouse raised expectations higher than the actual execution. It was hard to distinguish this from any other sandwich stuffing. On balance, though, the sandwich was pleasing as a light repast.
A duo of $2.25 carrot and chocolate bundt cakes provoked further childhood reminiscences — my Mom used to bake these. Kon deemed these petite desserts “properly sized,” and I had to agree. These were just enough of a sweet to cap off a light lunch. Each had its own charms, and the carrot cake had the right touch of moistness without too much sugar. The chocolate cake was in a more elevated category, with a dense bittersweet flavor of the sort you’d expect to find at a more formal and expensive eatery.
Freshness and reasonable prices are the order of the day at Gindi Café. While it may be perceived more as a neighborhood hangout than a destination restaurant, it’s worth a visit for a light lunch.
Meals here are prepared with care, and it’s just the place for someone wanting a healthy lunch that’s a cut above.
Clay’s Obscurity Corner About the bundt
What we know as a bundt cake originated in northern Europe, and the first mention of it in the U.S. was in a 1901 cookbook. Yet the 1960s and 1970s represent its heyday. Baked in a ring-shaped mold, these distinctive ridged cakes were originally prepared in a ceramic pan. A successful bundt entry in a mid- 1960s bakeoff touched off a bundt Renaissance, and Nordic Ware sold millions of aluminum cake pans, surpassing even Jello mold sales. I remember that my Mom would bake cakes from a bundt mix, which probably weren’t different from regular mixes except for the labeling.
Gindi Café 3601 Arapahoe Ave. Suite #181, Boulder 720-242-8961