Caffe Fresca/Cafe Noelle

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Caffe Fresca/Cafe Noelle

Postby Low-N-Slow on Thu Feb 24, 2011 8:17 pm

After a lengthy construction, Caffe Fresca (W. Metairie Ave. near Clearview) has moved to the other end of the same building. I recall past reports from some who didn't care for their offerings, but we've always found the service prompt, friendly and courteous, and the kitchen reasonably consistent. That the menu remained largely unchanged for several years was probably the biggest shortcoming.

The new space has more of an upscale feel-- darker, with a decor marked by dark woods, rich earth tones and artistic lighting installations. Waitstaff now sport crisp, button-down oxfords with monogrammed cuffs. Gone is the coffee, tea, and pastries bar, replaced by an actual bar. The regular menu has been pared down somewhat. Seafood offerings that were usually found only on the daily specials sheet have been added to the regular menu, along with steaks. The big monetary investment does not appear to have affected menu prices (yet). One has to wonder if some of the clientele from the previous incarnation won't feel slightly out of place in the new environs, or at the very least, slightly underdressed (but, this being New Orleans, probably not).

Perhaps the more interesting news is that the old space, left largely intact upon Caffe Fresca's exit, is now inhabited by "Cafe Noelle", a late/all night breakfast place operated, I'm told, by the owners of Erik's Cafe on West Esplanade. Peering throught the glass, it looks like they will also pick up and run with the coffee and pastry ball that Fresca decided to drop. Hours 9pm-11am Mon-Sat, 24 hours Sundays, according to the window. We're always up for a new weekend breakfast option, so looking forward to giving it a try.
"I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted cured meats. Hungry?"
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Re: Caffe Fresca/Cafe Noelle

Postby Low-N-Slow on Mon Mar 07, 2011 12:14 am

Sunday breakfast report: Decided to try out Cafe Noelle today, only to find they were doing an early breakfast buffet service 7-11am, followed by a brunch buffet service 11am-3pm. Initially, things seemed a little awkward-- reminiscent of having breakfast at a nice motel/small hotel. An impromptu buffet line was set up, featuring cold cereal, biscuits and gravy, muffins, Belgian waffles, link sausage, bacon (meaty and greaseless), grits (very good), etc. An eggs-cooked-to-order station was set up across the dining room.

We were greeted, seated and beverage order taken. We hit the buffet line, finding the items offered to be of apparent good quality, but, again, a little awkward in trying to juggle plates, serving utensils, and chafing pan lids. On the way back to our table, we stopped at the egg station to order some omelets. In retrospect, the better plan would have been to order the eggs first, have them delivered to the table, then go to the buffet line for the sides.

At this point, it should be noted that they opened last week with the intention of full table service at the outset, only to find themselves overwhelmed given the available staff. To their credit, they regrouped and adopted the buffet-style model temporarily in effect until the staffing issues can be resolved. One would have to think their catering experience-- dealing with service issues on-the-fly-- likely served them well in this case. It's important to note that the food quality did not appear to suffer as a result. And, by the time we started our meal, staffers were put in place at the buffet table to assist with service.

Some of the brunch offerings were put out a little earlier than 11am, and we were able to sample them (although we were already stuffed on breakfast food). Incuded today were various comfort foods including smothered string beans, pork chops in gravy, roasted chicken, and baked macaroni. What we tried was very good; what we did not, we were sorry we didn't have room for.

Breakfast buffet was a more-than-reasonable $8 (before 11am); brunch buffet (after 11am) was, IIRC, around $12, give or take $1.
"I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted cured meats. Hungry?"
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Re: Caffe Fresca/Cafe Noelle

Postby BobRSnow on Wed Mar 16, 2011 6:11 pm

They are closed when Fresca is open and vice versa. Noelle will be like the old Fresca and the new Fresca has a "dressy-casual" atmosphere. Really nice digs.
I know both owners will work hard to maintain the loyal following they've grown.
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Re: Caffe Fresca/Cafe Noelle

Postby flyinbayou on Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:25 am

BobRSnow wrote:They are closed when Fresca is open and vice versa. Noelle will be like the old Fresca and the new Fresca has a "dressy-casual" atmosphere. Really nice digs.
I know both owners will work hard to maintain the loyal following they've grown.


The few times I've been to Fresca they've turned me off with their attitude and their prices.
So, does their poop not stink anymore or should I still avoid them?
Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.
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Re: Caffe Fresca/Cafe Noelle

Postby Low-N-Slow on Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:33 pm

Hmmm... have not experienced this "attitude" of which you speak-- in fact, quite the opposite. Care to elaborate with specifics? As to pricing, yes, sometimes, on some things, it does cross my mind, but then I remember it's a restaurant with full service, and I'm not ordering/paying at the counter and waiting for my number to be called, nor busing my own table.
"I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted cured meats. Hungry?"
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