Cafe Deluxe has officially opened in the Gaithersburg Rio town center, moving into the spot where Hamburger Hamlet once resided. I am more than a little disappointed that yet another chain restaurant has moved into the neighborhood but at least Cafe Deluxe only has three other locations (Tysons, Bethesda and Cleveland Park).
There is nothing unique in the decor of the restaurant. It has a somewhat business casual atmosphere and when you sit down you feel like you are in for a 'nice' dinner. This is definitely a step up from the grungy Hamburger hamlet full of screaming children (though there still were a couple of screaming kids sitting next to my mom). The tables are a little uncomfortably close together and I am hoping it will open up a bit more when the back room is 'ready' to be available to guests.
As for the menu it makes itself out to be more ambitious and creative than the food actually is. The grilled meatloaf with spicy creole sauce is actually meatloaf with arriabata sauce (a spicy tomato sauce) instead of the cajun remoulade that I had expected. Most of the sandwiches don't come with many vegetables and seem to be sort of plain-for example the lam and goat cheese sandwich on bread.
There is absolutely nothing to complain about in terms of the quality of the food. In fact my meatloaf was quite flavorful and tasty though there was nothing particularly special about it. My fathers chicken pot pie was exactly that-a chicken pot pie (but no potatoes) and my mothers dish was basically chicken, veggies, and a garlic cream sauce. There was absolutely nothing wrong with these dishes, they were well executed and came out hot.
The best part of the meal was definitely the cobbler-which changes daily. We got the strawberry cobbler which came out in a large dish, warm, topped with a thick crust and vanilla ice cream.
If your in the mood for classic well done food in a slightly formal atmosphere I would definitely recommend Cafe Deluxe. If your more in the mood for a more unique and creative experience then I would head elsewhere.
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