Novel Cafes appear to be appearing randomly throughout Santa Monica, Ocean Park, Main Street, a host of other locations outside of our city, and lately, on Lincoln (going down in the world?). Each Novel Café has its own tone, own menu, and, it seems, own style of clientele. I recently visited the Lincoln location to look, learn, and as it happens, rather like.
My evening at this coffee shop/eatery/social club was social-centric given that I was attended by a collection of friends, all boisterous, all colorful, and all hungry. The menu here is concise, that is to say small, especially in comparison to some of the other novels that I have read, so to speak. Yes, they serve breakfast items, yes they offer a myriad of coffees, and yes, they have some tantalizing salads, and dishes, but that chalkboard was bereft of the burgers, much of the pastas, and a number of other options that I have enjoyed at the Ocean Park venue, but what they did purvey was, as we discovered, wholesome, tasty, and satisfying.
Décor here is rustic, but smart, and also somewhat spacious. On a Friday evening there was no problem for our group to find a table (or two), and counter service was simple. Coffee was good, bottled ginger ale was better, and from the menu we chose the Beet Salad ($5.95), Vegetable Soup ($4.40), and the superb Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas ($8.75).
Prep time was satisfactory, although I did wait quite some time for my quesadillas, and even had to perform a secondary enquiry. It was at that point that I discovered that the gentleman next to me had, in his appetite driven eagerness, pushed in and “purloined” my dish, which was the same as his dish, if you get my drift?
Anyways, after the misunderstanding, his dish arrived and I began to eat. These ‘dillas were very wholesome, and very tasty. Tender barbecued chicken, cheese, spinach, all encased in fresh flour tortillas, and served with chips and a slightly spicy salsa side. The generous portion ensured that any follow up was not required. When the beet salad arrived it looked splendid, red onion, spinach, walnuts, goat cheese, and beets all piled high creating a cornucopia of color. It was accompanied however, by quite the saddest looking slices of white bread that one could possibly imagine. Certainly a juxtaposition there!
My friend, Tim, commented that his vegetable soup was tasty and filling, “with a great flavor.” It certainly was resplendent with all kinds of staple and seasonal vegetables for sure.
The Novel Café on Lincoln proved to be a fun place to hang with chums, enjoy a natter, chew the cud, chat, indulge in conversation, share stories, tell tales, oh, and eat some good food at a great price-how novel is that?
Novel Cafe, 2127 Lincoln Blvd., 310.396.8566
Mirror Contributing Writertim@smmirror.com