On the Spot reviews are exactly that—reviews written on the spot, after eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a restaurant in Redlands.
Place: Caprice Cafe
Caprice Cafe has a comfortable, air-conditioned dining room, but its patio is the place to be.
Even in this summer heat, the patio is comfortable, with the fans always on (there are also misters, but because it was pretty humid during our dinner, they were off). The people watching can’t be beat, especially on a Friday night, when families, friends, and couples head out for dinner or a drink.
While dining with three friends, we opted to share the cheese plate ($17) as a starter, with each one of us picking a different main course. I don’t often eat at Caprice Cafe, despite being a fan, and for my main dish I picked something I’ve had before and really enjoyed: the Pappardelle Pasta, with grilled wild shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, and a lemon-thyme cream sauce ($24).
The cheese came out quickly, with four cheeses, honey, almonds, and fig paste artfully presented on a long white plate. The grilled bread that accompanies the cheese is fabulous, still soft with a light char. The only downside is, we have no idea what cheese we ate; it’s not listed in the menu (likely because it changes often), and the waiter didn’t describe what was on the plate. We didn’t ask for any information, but when we eat here next time, we’ll ask what’s on the plate when it’s dropped off at the table.
Two of my dining companions (a husband and wife) ordered the butter lettuce salad to split ($9). It’s topped with pine nuts and a reduced balsamic that’s sweet and tangy at the same time, and easily shared. He ordered the Rainbow Trout, with string beans, almonds, and brown butter ($24), which is his staple dish, while she went with something new: the Chicken Breast wrapped in prosciutto, parmigiano, pesto, and sage, with charred corn fregola and porcini mustard ($28).
The flavor was rich, she said, and the corn phenomenal, but the chicken was a bit on the dry side. As for the trout, he loved it, especially the heaping portion of almonds on top of the trout and lightly steamed green beans. Our other friend ordered a lemon drop martini (“a must,” she said) and the Angel Hair, with sun-dried tomatoes, squid, olives, feta, and almonds ($22). “It was absolutely delicious,” she said. “It had calamari, almonds to add a crunch, and feta cheese to give it a bit of a kick.”
The Pappardelle Pasta was tasty as always, with several large shrimp and just enough of the slightly tangy cream sauce. There was a mix-up with my dinner, and at first, I was brought out the Wild Sautéed Shrimp appetizer ($12), with spicy garlic butter and lemon. The waiter explained that he wrote the wrong item down and apologized profusely; it was an honest mistake, and I wasn’t upset at all. They let me keep the appetizer, which I ate while my friends had their main dishes, and they brought out the pasta just a few minutes later. The best part of having this unexpected appetizer is I now have leftovers of my pasta to take home, making for an excellent lunch tomorrow!
Our waiter was fantastic, as was the busboy who kept my water glass filled and checked in regularly to see if my friends wanted additional cocktails or beers. Caprice Cafe offers an upscale dining experience with excellent service, and if it’s not on your go-to list, it should be. Caprice Cafe is at 104 E. State St. —Catherine