Café Du Jour serves up delectable sandwiches
As Pittsburgh weather becomes more forgiving, the search for new eateries beyond the Carnegie Mellon neighborhood becomes more enjoyable.
On East Carson Street in the South Side, there is a wide array of cafés, bistros, and restaurants to enjoy for lunch or dinner.
One of them, Café Du Jour, serves interesting but appetizing sandwiches at an affordable price.
A tiny café, Café Du Jour has a small indoor dining area and a couple tables outside situated by a small garden. The deep red wall of the small dining room is surprisingly comforting, not intimidating.
For starters, you can try baked Brie with sliced apples and spring honey, served with warm French baguette ($7). You can hardly go wrong with the queen of cheese.
The Brie was just warm with a garnish of rosemary mixture. Unlike most places, the baked Brie is not inside a pastry but, rather, is meant to be eaten with the warm French baguette.
There wasn’t enough cheese to complement all the bread, or maybe there was too much bread. Although the baguette was warm, the fresh-baked scent it usually emanates was missing, and with all the pretty plating, I was disappointed that the Brie was lukewarm.
If the Brie had been slightly warmer, the Brie and rosemary aroma would have been a great combination. The apple, though, was freshly cut.
There was also some berry syrup with honey that refreshed the sweetness of the honey and the richness of the cheese. The dish was good, but, with a little effort, so much more could have been done with it.
Café Du Jour has a wide variety of sandwiches. Last Saturday’s special was a salmon burger with LTO (lettuce, tomatoes, and onions) and red wine basil aioli ($9). “Aioli” is a fancy word for olive oil-based dressing or vinaigrette. Vinaigrette is usually an emulsified mixture of oil and acid, sometimes vinegar or lime juice.
The burger patty was made of salmon, capers, and dill, and is a take on smoked salmon, as smoked salmon is usually served with mustard dill sauce with onions and capers on the side.
The whole wheat bun was well-chosen, but rather dull. A toasted bun with slightly melted cheese might have made this dish more appealing. The greatest feature of this salmon burger is the sliced cheddar cheese. As simple as this sounds, sliced cheddar cheese adds a richness of flavor that cannot be achieved by normal packaged cheese.
For pork lovers, Café Du Jour has an apricot-dijon glazed roasted pork flatbread sandwich with a spicy chile-napa cabbage coleslaw, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and snow pea shoots ($8).
This sandwich gives you a generous slice of roasted pork. The coleslaw is actually in the folding of the sandwich next to the pork. The cabbage was fresh and crunchy, and not drowned in the dressing. Snow pea shoots and just the right amount of red onion cut the richness of the slaw. The pork was tasty, flavorful, and moist along with a sweet glaze.
The pork slice is thick enough to feel like you are eating a pork sandwich but not so thick that it tips off the balanced flavor. However, it was confusing as to whether the sandwich was to be served hot, warm, room temperature, or cold.
It seems that the flatbread was slightly warm and the filling was at room temperature. Delicious as it was, it felt like eating something that was warmed up rather than cooked.
Both the salmon burger and pork sandwich came with a small slice of watermelon, a sweet gift to the rich meal.
Café Du Jour is a nice café serving fancy sandwiches at realistic prices for college students.
All the dishes are delicious, although with extra work and attention there could be more sparks and fireworks, adding that extra oomph to bring the meal to another level.
Café Du Jour is situated at 1107 East Carson Street and serves lunch and dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.