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Claire's Corner Copia

1000 Chapel St., New Haven, CT - (203) 562-3888
Posted By Michael Stern on 1/3/2004 4:00:00 PM
For reasons we cannot explain, we had neglected Claire's over the years. When we lived in New Haven, it was a regular stop for us ... for hot muffins and coffee cake at breakfast, for excellent Mexican meals at lunch and supper, for lentil soup, French peasant soup, and mushroom barley soup, each served with hunks of yeasty bread.

A recent breakfast visit reminded us why we need to return more often. The Lithuanian coffee cake, a long-time favorite, was moist and full flavored as ever; and the granola -- which we don't ever remember sampling -- was exemplary. We are sorry we didn't get one of the good hot breakfasts, too, such as frittata, French toast (made from thick slices off a baguette), or multi-grain pancakes.

The warm drink menu was itself a joy to browse, including hot chocolate and Mexican hot chocolate (the latter spiced up with a dash of hot pepper), mulled cider, Russian fruit tea, and hot buttered rum.

In addition to good (vegetarian!) food and drink, Claire's is notable for its extra-comfy counter-culture atmosphere. Service is semi-cafeteria style: line up, browse the blackboard menu and the pastries on display, place your order, and pay. Then you find a seat and gather whatever silverwear you think you need, and pretty soon your meal is delivered by one of the staff from behind the counter. The management asks customers to please clean up their own tables when finished with a meal.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Lithuanian Coffee Cake
Granola
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A Claire's specialty now for decades, Lithuanian coffee cake is indeed great with coffee ... in the morning or for an afternoon break.
"A Claire's specialty now for decades, Lithuanian coffee cake is indeed great with coffee ... in the morning or for an afternoon break."
Michael Stern





Claire's granola, available with yogurt, milk, or soy milk, is crunchy, maple-sweet, and stick-to-the ribs.
"Claire's granola, available with yogurt, milk, or soy milk, is crunchy, maple-sweet, and stick-to-the ribs."
Michael Stern


Banana bread is just one of several bakery delights on display when you step up to the counter.
"Banana bread is just one of several bakery delights on display when you step up to the counter."
Michael Stern


Claire's is a supremely casual eatery in downtown New Haven.
"Claire's is a supremely casual eatery in downtown New Haven."
Michael Stern


At Claire's customers are asked to bus their own tables. It is also up to customers to fetch their own silverware and napkins, giving a meal here a distinctly communal feel.
"At Claire's customers are asked to bus their own tables. It is also up to customers to fetch their own silverware and napkins, giving a meal here a distinctly communal feel."
Michael Stern


Claire's has been a source of truly cornucopic vegetarian food for more than a quarter century.
"Claire's has been a source of truly cornucopic vegetarian food for more than a quarter century."
Michael Stern


Not to be trifled with, Claire's trifle is a big-league, big-appetite dessert!
"Not to be trifled with, Claire's trifle is a big-league, big-appetite dessert!"
Michael Stern


We don't generally seek out quiche, but Claire's quiches are mighty tempting.
"We don't generally seek out quiche, but Claire's quiches are mighty tempting."
Michael Stern



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