by Ian McNulty
Café Carmo and Satsuma Café are two popular lunch spots that have quickly carved niches for themselves — Carmo for serving a refreshingly different (and often meatless) tropical cuisine in the Warehouse District, Satsuma for bringing the farm-to-table approach to its coffeehouse setting in the Bywater.
Both are now also serving dinner, adding offbeat, affordable options in their respective neighborhoods.
Carmo begins evening service this Thursday, Nov. 3, and plans to serve from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. This is in addition to its ongoing lunch hours of 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
The prevailing theme at Café Carmo is Brazilian cooking, though it's much different from the popular image of the steak-heavy Brazilian restaurant. Instead, owners Christine and Dana Honn specialize in diverse, often complex tropical flavors with traditional Brazilian dishes and many other influences from Africa to Asia. While it is not a vegetarian restaurant per se, vegan substitutions are available, and often specifically engineered, for many of the dishes.
Evening service will feature the most popular items from lunch, plus some new dinner dishes. Asked for examples, Dana Honn listed a few that sound delicious, namely acarajé, a Brazilian black eyed pea fritter filled with shrimp and doused with hot sauce; rum-cured, cold-smoked tuna with chili oil and pickled quail eggs; an oyster plate with cold-smoked, pickled oysters and marinated, hot-smoked oysters, and dumplings with blue crab, cabbage and mushrooms.
Carmo has recently expanded from its initial tiny space, roughly doubling its seating inside and adding sidewalk seats as well. The café also now has a full bar and will offer delivery for dinner. They’re not accepting reservations for now.
Meanwhile, in the Bywater, Satsuma has launched dinner service from Wednesday through Saturday, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Satsuma took over a former coffee shop, and while it certainly serves a good cup of coffee the place made a name for itself by working so much seasonal, locally-sourced foods onto its inexpensive breakfast and lunch menu.
Owners Cassi and Peter Dymond have served dinner at the café before for special fundraising events, most recently in September to help an employee’s family recover from flooding after Hurricane Irene. They said at the time that the event would double as a test run for future dinner service. Now, their menu and format for evening service is underway with Michael Costantini as the dinner chef and Christina Balzabre as the pastry chef.
It's BYOB, with no corkage fee, and no reservations are accepted. Here’s their menu:
Marinated Olives-Cinnamon, Fennel, Corriander, Orange, Chilli 4.
Spiced Marcona Almonds- Smoked Paprika, Sea Salt, Olive Oil 4.
Gougeres-Gruyere, Proscuitto, Tomato Jam 4.
Bouquerones(Spanish Anchovies)- Olive Oil, Parsley, Lemon, Garlic 4.
Antipasto Plate — Prosciutto, Salumi, Pickled and Roasted Vegetables, Crostini 7.
Zucchini Salad-Feta, Frisee, Preserved Lemon, Pistachios, Lemon Vinaigrette 7.
Mezze Plate- Beet Tzatziki, Muhamara, Hummus, Pita Chips 7.
Beet and Crab Salad- Avocado, Preserved Orange, Buttermilk-Chive Dressing 10.
Hanger Steak Salad- Mint, Cilantro, Basil, Pepper, Cucumber, Red Onion, Thai-Lime Dressing 9/14.
Papa Pomodoro Soup- Tomato, Ciabatta, Parmigiano 6.
Garlicky Shrimp Alla Plancha- Romesco Sauce and Charred Lemons 7.
Tagliatelle Puttanesca- Green Olives, Garden Herbs, Tomato, Anchovy, Pangritata 9/14.
Gnocchi- Brown Butter, Sage, Butternut Squash, Tuscan Kale, Parmigiano 8/13.
Roast Chicken-Polenta with Provolone, Braised Kale, Rosemary Butter 14
Crusted Gulf Flounder-Crispy Garlic, Roasted Fennel, Peppers, Broken Shallot Vinaigrette 13
Ginger Cake with Plum-Blackberry Compote and Cardamom Cream 5.
Tiramisu- Espresso Soaked Vanilla Cake with Cashew-Chantilly Cream 5.
Flourless Chocolate Torte with Crème Anglaise 5.
Lemon-Ginger Crème Brulee 5.
527 Julia St., 875-4132
3218 Dauphine St., 304-5962