Caffé Falai, located on Lafayette and Bleecker, third and most recent Falai establishment that is owned by Iacopo Falai. I have chosen this place to eat for lunch not primarily for the real food but more in the desserts arena since, if you haven’t noticed, I love desserts, and many food lovers claimed that he creates awesome baked goods. So why not go there?This place is actually a small café. There’s ten tables and the bar, as seating area. The open kitchen is extremely small that I wonder sometimes how can they create such exquisite looking and more importantly, tasting food.
The interior is done entirely in white. The walls, floor, tables, chairs and the bar is white. The chandeliers that hang above the bar are beautiful; it reminds me of a miniature version from Anthropologie. (Yes, I know I have a strange addiction to Anthropologie.)
The service is really awful. Right from the very start from seating myself to the actual ordering, it took my waitress a good five minutes. There were two waitresses in the beginning, the one she had seem to do the most work, yet works in a passive attentive way. To clarify that, if she is at your table you will have her attention for that minute, after that you will be tentatively ignored unless you call her attention or she will appear at your table five to ten minutes later. Other service flaws, even though I ordered from a savory pastry and a cake, I was not served any bread. I realized that much later on after I finished my cake.
The latte was ok. There wasn’t much crema and the espresso was a bit too bitter for a latte and lacking that smoothness that I’ve encounter from Ninth Street Espresso. It was doable for $3.
Anyways, the food. The savory pastry I was referring to is a spinach and ricotta cheese in a puff pastry – as stated on the menu.
It looks colorful and gooey… the cheese is oozing out of that flaky puff pastry. Did I mention I love gooey cheese? Actually, I haven’t met a cheese that I haven’t liked yet.
The pastry is flaky, dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg on the exterior; the innards are packed with a gooey, creamy, ricotta cheese sauce with a ton of spinach, raisins and pignoli nuts (also known as pine nuts). The combination of flavors is quite interesting. You get your savory (ricotta cheese sauce and spinach), sweet (raisins) and spicy (cinnamon and nutmeg). The pignoli nuts gave it some crunch. The only flaw on this pastry is that the cheese sauce has that pasty, flour aftertaste. Possibly they undercooked their roux. It’s good but not mind blowing greatness. The good part is that it’s filling and not that expensive, it was $3.
Next up, the Spring Dome.
According to the menu, it was stated simply, “pistachio cake, strawberry puree and citrus creme.”
It tasted like it is stated. The cream was slightly sweet and citrusy. The center is more like a strawberry gelée with little bits of chocolate on the bottom of it. The cake was pistachio and and citrusy but it didn’t contribute much to the texture or flavor unless I eat in individually. This reminds of Payard’s cake that I had a couple of months ago but it tastes a lot better than Payard even though it is not as beautiful. But still not an earth shattering experience. This dome costs $5.
It’s a nice place to eat a good, fairly inexpensive meal. Even though my intentions was to eat a light lunch but it was really caloric and fattening but it was delicious. Heck, I’ll try their chocolate croissant next time since a customer there who is a self proclaimed chocoholic said that, “all their chocolates [pastries] are good.” That’s my next mission when I come here next time.