We continued our tour of Fountain Square the other day with a visit to Shelbi Street Café for lunch. We wanted something new and a couple of my readers had recommended it. You know, as we parked around the corner and walked into the café, I was thinking how much I really like Fountain Square because it feels like a part of a city with history. Not to get too preachy, but our downtown, while it has its beauty for sure, sometimes depresses me for the fact that on so many streets there are nothing but chain restaurants as far as the eye can see. Recently I had a person email me coming from out of town who was staying right downtown and wanted a recommendation for a restaurant that was walking distance, not a chain, and kid friendly (and good). Honestly, I had to tell her if she really wanted something good, her best bet was a cab. And then, take it to Fountain Square. There are lots of options that met her criteria. Anyhow, I am off point again, but this really bugs me.
But as to Shelbi Street Café, I have to say, I was a little disappointed. The menu features mainly salads, pizzas and sandwiches for lunch. I debated between trying one of the pizzas and one of the sandwiches and in the end I went for the Portobello mushroom sandwich because it was the one that most appealed to me at the moment. It had grilled portabella mushrooms, grilled zucchini, yellow squash, caramelized onion, tomato, guacamole and chipotle mayo (well that is what the menu said anyhow). It was served on focaccia. Ok, first of all, there was no guacamole on this puppy. And you know how I like my avocado. So that was a little disappointing. And the sandwich was really tall. It was so tall I had to take a few layers of veggies off just to get it in my mouth. And sadly, while the mushroom was pretty tasty, the bun was pretty soggy from all the juices from it and the other things --especially the bottom of the bread. The caramelized onion was nice, but the chipotle mayo didn’t have enough flavor to really be noticed. The tomato was a good addition for little acidity, but as usual, would have been better if it was riper. I was also asked whether I wanted fruit or sautéed veggies as a side and said fruit (how may veggies does a girl need on a plate?) and still got veggies. When I got our server’s attention, he did bring me out some fruit, but it took a few minutes. I did try the veggies (squash, asparagus, zucchini, and carrots) and they were pretty good. Hubby enjoyed them and ate all of his. I commented that I sort of like these healthy options as a side, and while hubby liked eating them, he said it just isn’t right to not serve chips or fries with a sandwich. So there’s one man’s opinion on that.
Hubby enjoyed his Philly Cheese steak quite a bit more than I enjoyed my sandwich. I had a bite and it was pretty good. Still nothing that was jumping out at me as something I would go back for though. It was lots of beef and onions on more of the focaccia (slightly nontraditional I guess).
The people were really nice in this place and honestly, I wanted to like it. Hubby certainly liked it better than I. But with so many great choices in Fountain Square, this would probably not be one I headed back to anytime soon.
Shelbi Street Café
1105 Shelby Street