Just outside an entrance to the plush gated community of Woodside, the Village Cafe has worldly flavor with a Dixie accent. It’s a casual place that is anything but casual about what it serves. Here is some very interesting food. The sandwich selection, for example, includes not just a regular BLT, but a smoked salmon BLT. Silky ribbons of tender pink Norwegian salmon are added to the winning combo of bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise (lemon-dill mayo) and served on multi-grain toast. Luxury incarnate!
There’s no American cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich because it is an “international grilled cheese sandwich,” containing gruyere, Irish cheddar, brie, and aged provolone. Other deluxe sandwich options include house-poached turkey breast along with turkey bacon, havarti, and cranberry mayo; grilled vegetables in a spinach wrap; and an Italian dip of roast pork, broccoli rabe, and provolone on a French roll. Friday is pastrami day, when house-brined, seasoned, smoked brisket is cut to order into voluptuous fat-rimmed slices.
With extraordinary sandwiches, ordinary potato chips might seem disrespectful. (Route 11 chips are available). Side dish offerings include orecchiette pasta salad, tabbouleh, and a brilliant mayo-free roasted potato salad with tart dressing and al dente bits of pepper.
The menu also offers meal-size salads, a soup of the day (served with rosemary garlic focaccia), and gelato for dessert. A short breakfast menu includes bagels (available with interesting flavored cream cheeses), muffins (with seasoned butter), and a hot breakfast.
When I stop in early one morning the day’s hot breakfast is a southern favorite with gourmet aspiration. A rugged biscuit is stuffed with ham and cheese accompanied by a dish of memorable grits. They look like plain grits, but a first spoonful virtually bursts with the flavors of gruyere and cheddar cheese that are mixed in. Good espresso and artistic lattes are a final reminder that you definitely aren’t at IHOP. And sweet tea reassures you that this is the Deep South.
Sophisticated as the food is at Village Cafe, its way of doing business is country-casual. Place your order and pay at the counter, where you are given a number to take to a table or to a sunny counter seat by the window to which staff brings the meal.