Dave and I were lucky to go out to dinner twice last week without Dylan! While it's always interesting to go out to dinner with the little guy, we don't do it very often because generally he would rather run around the restaurant than sit and eat. (Unless we are at Chez Guevara, he is usually good when we go there for some reason...)
Anyway, Dave and I met up with our friends Matt and Julie at his amazing loft in the old Chocolate Factory building. Matt has a great view of the sunsphere and World's Fair Park. We all caught up over a drink before walking over to Market Square for dinner at Cafe 4. Matt and Julie had been to Cafe 4 a few times before, but this was the first time Dave and I had been there. We love going downtown, but we just don't go there very often for dinner, something we are certainly working on changing!
Cafe 4 features traditional Southern comfort foods with a twist and have a frequently changing "seasonal-menu". Although we were a little late for our 7:30pm reservation we were seated right away. After trying a couple of options for red wine we settled on a bottle of Parducci Pinot Noir. (I am not a red wine fan so I had a glass of CA Sauvignon Blanc). It was a difficult decision to pick an appetizer with Sweet Corn Cakes, Chipolte BBQ Quesadillas and Parmesan and Truffle Fries on the menu. We decided to go with the Flash Fried Calamari and it did not disappoint. The sriracha aioli was a great spicy compliment to the lightly battered calamari.
With so many different options for entrees it was not easy deciding what to have for dinner. Cafe 4's selection of Flatbreads including a Lobster and Bacon option; Sandwiches namely the Fried Pork Tenderloin & Braised Short Rib and Grilled Cheese, Burgers, Entrees and Market Square Mini's all sounded delicious. I chose the Braised Short Ribs with roasted root vegetables. I have made the Pioneer Woman's Braised Beef Short Ribs before and they have been amazing, so I probably should have ordered something different. But I don't generally see short ribs on menus so I had to try them. They were excellent, cooked perfectly, fork tender. The vegetables were also cooked perfectly and while I am pretty sure zucchini is not a root vegetable it was excellent with the baby potatoes and carrots. Dave and Julie had the filet Mignon with asparagus and whipped potatoes. They both ordered their steaks medium-rare and that is just how they got them. Most restaurants overcook the steak when it is ordered medium-rare, but that was not the case at Cafe 4. Matt also had steak with asparagus and whipped potatoes (I think his was a ribeye though). They all raved about how excellent their steaks and vegetables were!
While we all said we were too full for dessert, we did have some wine to finish so we decided to at least check out the dessert tray. You know what that leads to, dessert! And ours was excellent, chocolate cookie crust, layered white and milk chocolate mousse and cheesecake, TO.DIE.FOR! Cafe 4 does have a bakery, so the wonderfulness of the dessert shouldn't have been that surprising, but I am still thinking about that awesome dessert!
I would certainly recommend Cafe 4 to anyone, their prices are reasonable, you could spend a lot or a little and have an exceptional dinner. They are also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Their Sunday brunch is supposed to be out of this world, and with outdoor seating that just might be something we do this weekend with the great weather Knoxville is going to have!