CLAYTON Theres a kute little kafé in Klayton called the Koffee Kove.
Why they didnt just call it the Coffee Cove is beyond me. But it has been around for a long time and has a loyal following, so I guess the K thing hasnt bothered anyone over the years except me.
Its like a lighthouse in the dark in this waterfront village thats all buttoned up for winter. The Clippers closed. Bellas is closed. The Lyric was closed the evening we were in town.
So the Koffee Kove is one of the few options for dinner in Clayton this time of year, it appears.
Its clean and bright, warm and inviting, with varnished knotty pine walls a focal point and booths and tables scattered throughout. And it had a good crowd on a recent weekday night.
The menu is diner-ish: deep-fried appetizers, lots of salads, homemade soups, burgers, sandwiches, desserts and a handful of dinner selections.
Theres lots of standard fare along with some interesting items. Sweet potato fries. Teriyaki shrimp salad. Chicken Philly. Salmon burger. Black bean burger. Thanksgiving turkey sandwich with baby spinach, sliced apple, red onion. Shore dinner sandwich with bacon, tomato, onion and mayo. The Bertrand: bacon and peanut butter on homemade toast. Gluten free bread is available.
We got started with homemade soups (usually there are two different kinds at all times) and a cup of chili.
A bowl of beef noodle ($3.29) consisted of a low-salt beef stock, small pieces of beef, celery and other diced veggies along with thin spaghetti noodles. We really appreciated that the broth was not overly salty as is often the case in restaurants.
A cup of tomato macaroni beef ($2.39) was just OK, with lots of tomato (tasted like stewed tomatoes, someone at the table commented); it could have used more ground beef. The noodles were a little overcooked, as though they were part of the soup rather than being added just before serving.
The chili ($2.89 a cup) had plenty of flavor, a very rich tomato base with onions, green pepper, ground beef and lots of red kidney beans. It wasnt spicy hot, by any means. Chili powder contributed a real chili taste.
Turkey burger ($4.99) was served on a fresh roll that was noticeably larger than the burger, along with lettuce, tomato and large slice of red onion. It was nicely cooked, maintaining a certain degree of juiciness. It tasted good, but could have used a bit more seasoning salt and pepper?
Liver and onions ($9.99) my favorite! Something you just dont get around to making at home and you dont see on many restaurant menus.
Our server actually asked how I would like it cooked! Medium-rare was my call, because much more than that and the meat tends to become dry and tough. Unfortunately, it arrived more like medium-well, but it was not tough at all.
Nicely sautéed and browned onions smothered the liver. A certain amount of oil from cooking the onions helped keep the meat moist. The only thing that would have made it better might have been bacon which makes everything better.
Flat iron steak ($12.99) was requested medium-rare and they nailed it on this one.
The steak, a 9-ounce portion about an inch thick, had a nice pink center and was quite tender. It was served simply over a piece of toast. No fancy garnishes on any of the plates.
With our dishes, we tried various sides.
A garden salad was a combination of iceberg lettuce and romaine, some chopped tomato that looked like it was prepped for another use maybe the taco salad and some thick slices of red onion.
It also contained chickpeas definitely out of the ordinary along with croutons that appeared to be nothing more than dried cubes of old bread. Italian dressing looked like Good Seasons.
Macaroni salad was really good, homemade with onions, peppers, eggs and mayo. It didnt need any help in the seasoning department very tasty.
A side of baby spinach was just that: a small dish of leaves of fresh, uncooked baby spinach served with a side of Italian dressing. Since it was the side for the steak, I guess we just assumed that it would be cooked.
Sweet potato fries from one of their suppliers were nicely cooked, soft on the inside with just a bit of crunch on the outside.
There was an amazing number of dessert choices: hot fudge sundae, brownie sundae, strawberry shortcake, ice cream and about a dozen pie choices that had been staring at us all night from the chalkboard.
We stuck to the list of about a dozen homemade pies ($3.39 each/$4.39 a la mode).
Peach pie was perfect not at all gloppy or too sweet and the peach flavor was very good. The crust was homemade and tender but didnt have a lot of flavor. A pinch of salt might have helped.
Tollhouse pie had the same crust, filled with chocolate chips and a cakelike filling. It was a bit dried out and was served cold; maybe it would have been better heated a bit.
Cherry pie was good. We were expecting bright red cherries like you get in a can, but these were purple. We thought wed gotten the blackberry pie by mistake.
Our server told us they were dark cherries. They tasted great, a nice departure from the standard variety.
Dinner for three came to $56.31 before tip. There are no alcoholic beverages, but we found it interesting that they served both Coke and Pepsi products. How did they manage that?
None of the food was overly salted great for people who cant or dont use much salt. But for others, the food could seem underseasoned. For those, salt and pepper shakers are provided on every table.
Our waitress was pleasant and attentive and knew a great deal about the food preparations. She did a great job on a busy night with only one other server on duty.
The Koffee Kove is open every day from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You kan kontact restaurant reviewer Walter Siebel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
228 James St.
A cute little café in downtown Clayton, one of the only restaurants in the village open for dinner this time of the year.
HOURS: 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week
OUR PICKS: Beef noodle soup, chili, flat iron steak, macaroni salad, any of their dessert pies