Chow Bella

Cafe: The House at Secret Garden

We tend to stay away from anything that combines the word "secret" with the word "garden." Chalk it up to some ignorant machismo, but that's the way it is. Of course if The House at Secret Garden is half as good as Michele Laudig makes it sound in this week's "Cafe" column, we may have to check our misplaced, manly pride at the door and sit down.

Food Critic Michele Laudig on The House at Secret Garden

I inhaled the housemade pasta one night, an excellent butternut squash ravioli with port demi-glace. The filling was like edible velvet. Almost as sensual was a heap of creamy Anson Mills grits topped with sautéed shrimp and sweet corn, with a hint of serrano chile kick.

When I tried the seasonal sandwich on my last visit, it was pretty hefty for a vegetarian item. Tucked into thick whole grain bread, it combined tomato, grilled eggplant, squash, red onion, greens, and tepary bean spread. I liked it a lot, but I flat-out loved the smoked brisket sandwich, which tugged at my carnivorous little heartstrings with moist, thinly sliced beef, tomato, red onion, cheddar, and more of those delicious greens on a fresh baguette. Brisket sandwiches are usually meat overload, but this one had just the right amount...full story

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Jonathan McNamara