Monday, November 18, 2013

Europa Bar and Cafe

I think everyone in Greensboro can agree that Europa Bar and Café is a wonderful place to spend an evening. This happens to be a very special place to me personally, but if you’re looking for a ladies’ night out (see Wednesday's half-off already inexpensive wine), or a place to take your parents when they visit (you really can’t beat the brunch value), Europa has been my go-to for a while. 

A lovely, spacious patio makes me want it to be 75 degrees year-round. Inside, the wooden accents and long bar invite you to picture Hemingway and the like sitting there, enjoying a cocktail. Whenever you have a craving, just give the bartender a wink and say the word “Pimms” or “Cointreau” and he’ll whip you up just what you were looking for.

Essentially everything on the menu is tremendous bang for your buck. The Grilled Chorizo appetizer gives you two deliciously plump links of Spanish Chorizo, served with Pesto and Roasted Red Pepper Coulis, which is reminiscent of hummus. Warm pita is a nice base for these spreads. The Garlic-Lime Shrimp appetizer may be my favorite thing on the menu. Black Tiger Shrimp is saturated with flavors of Garlic, Lime Juice and Cilantro, and served in a boat of buttery sauce, featuring all of those flavors. You won’t be able to resist dunking the Italian bread that comes alongside in this. The flavors are robust.

I spoke too soon - the Niciose Salad is my favorite thing on the menu. Mixed Greens with Tomatoes, Hericots Verts, Boiled Potatoes, Hard Boiled Eggs, Olives and Grilled Tuna are dressed with the best Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing I've ever tasted in my life. This is an exquisite salad. The dressing wowed me big time. This is not your average BV. The Cuban is phenomenal. Pork, Ham, Mustard, Swiss and PICKLES are too classic a combination to be altered. Order the cold herb and vinegar-based Pasta Salad as your side, and you'll swear off the Ranch dressing-based stuff for life. It rocks.

Unforunately, Europa is like all of us humans, and thus cannot be *perfect*. The Crab Dip is Cream Cheese-based, and baked and topped with Parmesan and Breadcrumbs. It’s pretty rich, and not my favorite rendition – I detected very little crab against all the cheese. It’s served with fried, greasy pita, which makes it even more overwhelming – simple grilled pita would be preferred here. I was deceived by the list of ingredients in the Pork Belly and Jalapeno Sandwich description. These are all “Amanda” words, but the dish leaves a lot to be desired. Pork Tenderloin is wrapped in Pork Belly, layered with Gruyere Cheese and Jalapenos on a baguette. I needed more flavor from the pork, and less grease. Also, the Croque Madame is better in Paris (but what isn’t?) A little tweaking (and salt) to their Beschamel would do this mama sando right.

Europa is perhaps the best brunch in town, and without a doubt the most wallet-friendly. The three egg Western Omelette serves as a bed for Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Red Peppers and Pepper Jack Cheese, alongside Hash Browns (the fried potato cube kind), fruit and a miniature muffin. For $6.50. Unreal! Fancy yourself a Gruyere Omelette with a Blue Cheese Wedge Salad? Just a meager $6! Cappuccinos are the proper size and potency. Bring me a split of Spanish Cava and just the right amount of OJ to fill it to the top, and I’m a happy girl.

You’ll see me here a few times a month, and wished you’d discovered this spot sooner if you haven’t already.

3 comments:

  1. I *think* this is one of those places where if you order safe, you're gonna be under-whelmed. If you're going to try something you normally wouldn't get, this is a good place to do it. Plus, they have a really good greek salad.

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    1. Greek Salad you say! Why have I not tried this... Also, the Mussels are wonderful. If you're a sea bug fan.

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    2. The shrimp appetizer ... those seabugs are swimming in butter.

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