Just around the curve, the goodness of Magnolia Cafe and Bakery awaits
By Wendy Pollitzer
February 3, 2011
The gracious, dedicated owners, Evangaline and Dana
Kim’s “Chef ’s surprise” salad with pasta salad, chicken salad and cottage cheese over greens.
Recently, the Lunch Bunch got a trifecta of super service, delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere to make for a perfectly pleasurable lunch at Magnolia Café, Bakery and Garden Gift Gallery, owned and operated by Evangaline and Dana Jing. The Southern name gives an impression of good, old Carolina cooking, and the restaurant delivers with traditional Lowcountry dishes as well as Chef Dana Jing’s French twist with homemade crepes and healthy alternative sides.
Located at 703 Congress Street on the corner of Congress and Carteret, Magnolia Café overlooks the Beaufort River. It’s simply a quiet and adoring get-away at Bellamy Curve, close enough to downtown yet distinct with it’s exclusive presence in a non-commercial area. It’s an ideal spot for locals and tourists alike.
So, yes, location, location, location. Magnolia Café has it. But, they also have an incredible menu to compliment the great spot. I knew it as soon as Sherice, our super-friendly server, explained everything on the menu with exquisite precision.
We were delighted with a surprise tray of mimosas at the very start of our lunch. I did not know that Magnolia’s had a liquor license; but, they do, and we all enjoyed the refreshing cocktail (or two).
Paired with our mimosas were servings of lobster bisque and house-smoked salmon on crostinis. Chef Dana takes great pride in using a Norwegian, cold-smoking method to prepare the salmon. We collectively agreed this appetizer was the “Mac-Daddy” Must-Have!
Elizabeth opted for the shrimp salad sandwich on a croissant with a side of fruit while April chose the smoked oven-baked chicken breast salad dressed with honey mustard. Barry ordered the crab cake sandwich and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Kim couldn’t decide on a particular item on the menu, so she asked the chef to surprise her. Kim is the risk-taker of the bunch. Dana chose to make a tasty, healthy, entrée-sized salad, packed with romaine, seasonal mixed greens with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives topped with a trio of chicken salad, cottage cheese and pasta salad.
Pamela and I were loving the French “crepe” theme. She ordered the Capri Crepe, complete with sun-dried tomato, pesto, ricotta and Parmesan. I likened to the Bellamy Curve Crab Cake Crepe special. Both crepes were topped with an amazing Mornay sauce and just delicious.
We were all stuffed, but still managed to order one dessert per person. We got the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee, the Chocolate Suicide Cake, the Key Lime Pie, a Mixed Berry Pie a la mode, a raspberry cheesecake, and a red-velvet cake topped with sweet cream cheese. Talk about icing on the cake. Wow!
Thank you Magnolia Café. Thank you Evangaline and Dana. Your hospitality was first-class. We will be back!