EuroPan Bakery Café
Lincoln Center, New York, NY
Review by Veronica, MaceVindaloo, Diana, Wraith6
We were on our way to visit with friends at a more expensive restaurant, but one of us screwed up the time and we were too early. Not so early that we should go back to our respective domiciles and brood, but early enough that some of us were experiencing the 'drop' one sometimes feels when not fed on time ... so we dropped in to this place, which called itself a "café" but it looked more like a "deli."
Come to think of it, the NYC version of a deli is a café of sorts, and they have pre-made sandwiches and sandwiches to order, coffee, pastries, etc. all out in cases arranged around the space. The center area had tiny tables arranged very closely to one another to qualify for the "café" designation.
We got coffee and pastries, not wanting to fill up too much since were were obligated to go to brunch, but enough to take off the "edge" from being grumpy-hungry. They were servicible, not offensive, and half of one was suited to the edge-dulling task. The coffee was good, too.
We took a little time to check out the sandwich offerings, and we liked the cheek-by-jowl approach of "mise en place" for the "tell us what you want" sandwich fixings bar. We are also not buffet fans (potential health hazard) so appreciated that all of this is behind a sloped glass casing.
The pre-made sandwiches were paninis flat, wide layers of ingredients which usually include a cheese and are heated and finished between the slabs of a pannini grill, which is like a heavy-duty George Forman grill appliance, with a narrower scoring grid. They are very pretty, kind of like a Italian-influenced quesadilla with fresh ingredients within.
They have some prepared "meals" which are heftier too, packed in microwavable boxes. A good idea for dinner, though we should all be eating heavier earlier in the day, according to some theories. All those people obligated to work on weekends would appreciate this: grab some and head downtown to the office. The office nuker will take care of the rest.
We were here early and should have come back to check up on the state of the displays here, but it was all very pretty and made us wonder if we should just eat here and bail out on our scheduled brunch. We didn't, of course, but we thought about it!
They have a menu, but this is not really a sit-down place, more a cafeteria where you go up to the counter, give them your order, wait for them to cook it for you, take it to the cashier, pay, and find a seat. This might be problematic during rush hours. And the tables are not wiped down after every customer, which could be gross later in the day.
We wouldn't say there was anything "euro" about this place, and we had trouble figuring out later how it was spelled ... those of us took French in high school will remember that bread is "pain" ... and EuroPain was too-not-food. We eventually did figure out that we should use another language. (Okay, that was dumb, but we were almost grumpy-hungry and tired!)
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