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Restaurant Review: Zake’s Cafe

Intimate Dining with complete accommodation.

Restaurant: Zake’s Cafe

Address: 444 S Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington, PA 19034: (215) 654-7600

Rating: (4) out of 5 stars

Style: American Fusion

Food: Fresh & Healthy American Cuisine

Atmosphere: Quiet & Intimate

Parking: Yes, lot parking

Service: Polite, Attentive, and Speedy

Price Range: $$

Unique Feature: Walk-Ins Welcome, Take Out, Catering Available, & Fresh Bakery on the Premises

As we drove outside of Conshohocken and into Fort Washington, I kept my eyes peeled vigilantly for any signs that would let me know we were close. Having been a food lover my whole life, I’ve eaten in strip malls, diners, up-scale eateries, and the occasional chain restaurant. It wasn’t until I drove past a sign for Zake’s Café & Bakery did I realize that we would be dining in what appeared to be a Victorian house.

We arrived around 2 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon to a semi-crowded parking lot. As soon as we walked in, a friendly host let us know that we could sit at any open table. As we found the nearest table, I noticed the variety of patrons; to one side, there was a group of elderly women sipping on coffee, and to the other side was a couple in their early 30s making sure their two children finished their meals. Also, the alluring aroma of the in-house bakery was noticeable and welcome.

As soon as we sat down, our waiter took our drink orders and dropped off a regular menu and an additional sheet of specials. Though Zake’s Café was moderately busy, our drink order was served in about a minute, along with a complementary assorted bread dish. Along with traditional white bread was wheat and rosemary focaccia, all freshly baked and flavorful.

As we reviewed the menu, my girlfriend placed an order for vegetarian chili, which was also brought out within five minutes. Served piping hot and spicy, the stew was chock full of carrots, peppers, black beans, rice, and more. As we shared the chili, we agreed that it could have used a little seasoning, so salt and pepper were thrown into to the mix, which helped.

Within another five minutes (no kidding), our entrées were brought out. If they hadn’t been so accommodating and easy-going, I would have thought that they were trying to rush us out, but the fast service was appreciated. Because we were still working on the bread and chili, we needed to make room for more plates on the cramped and cluttered table, which is when I committed a faux pas and mistakenly slid my full glass of soda onto the floor, disturbing the already quiet dining room. After apologizing, I had to awkwardly sit and try to enjoy my meal as a worker from the kitchen mopped up next to me…oops.

My girlfriend ordered the grilled eggplant sandwich, which was oozing with fresh mozzarella as it was served. Though the eggplant was a bit cold, the roasted peppers, tomato pesto, and filling bread more than made up for it. I decided on the Cubana sandwich, which, due to its impressive size, could barely remain stacked (even with two separate toothpicks keeping it in place). Like my girlfriend’s, my sandwich was also lukewarm, though I was under the impression it was going to be toasted.

Full of ham, grilled pork, provolone cheese, tomatoes and Cuban citrus dressing, the meal was ultimately satisfying, leaving me too full to peruse their dessert menu. Fortunately, the girlfriend’s sweet tooth prevailed and we took a short walk over to the bakery window before paying the bill. She set her sights on a Red Velvet Cupcake and ordered it to-go, but indulged on the car ride home, reminding how luscious and sweet it was as she finished it without letting me have a taste.

We left Zake’s Café & Bakery as big fans of their establishment. Not only was the service impeccable and understanding, but the food was delivered fast (almost too fast) and we left as happy customers. Next time though, I think that we will have to go for dinner instead, and I will force myself to pick up one of those Red Velvet Cupcakes I’ve been hearing such good things about.

Click here for the full menu.

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