Review: Kookoo Cafe

So I’d been walking past Kookoo for a couple of weeks, intrigued by the specials board, but each time I peeked in the line was long and I didn’t want to wait. But today, lured by the twin specials of grilled cheese And spicy tomato soup, I took the plunge.

This is one of those places I want to like, but I can’t yet say that I actually like it. Although I understand that a grilled cheese takes a little more time than some sandwiches–you know, there’s the grilling and all–I still felt like I waited just a Tad too long. And the space feels a bit crowded when you’re waiting; more than two people by the counter suddenly feels like a mob, and people coming in from the street are perpetually confused about whether the folks waiting for orders to go are in line or not.

I will say that they have an impressive array of hot drinks and what looks to be an extensive baked goods selection, although several things appeared to be out by the time I swung by for lunch (just after one).

Ultimately, I thought the price was more than right–sandwich, soup, and a Snapple for just over eight bucks–but the portions turned out to be small, and not that thrilling. The sandwich was really only lightly grilled, and it wasn’t just the fact that I ordered it to go and got it wrapped in foil. This was definitely not a thoroughly grilled sandwich. The cheese was barely melted and individual slices were still distinct. Also, I really think restaurants should stick with the classics–an understated bread, either American or nice sharp cheddar (those make for very different sandwiches, clearly, but I can be satisfied with either), and crispy, hopefully buttery, bread.

This sandwich failed on all three counts. The bread was overwhelming–some kind of multigrain with way too much texture, the cheese was barely tasteable, and I could discern no crisp nor butter whatsoever.

The soup was fine–nice big chunks of tomato–but I wouldn’t call it spicy so much as possibly containing spices, which in my mind are two very different things.

My final complaint? Instead of a nice hunk of bread, my soup came with a small packet of limp pita shreds. This is not at all conducive for transporting soup. Not at all.

Anyway, I’ll probably try something else eventually, because I do like the vibe, the people are friendly, and I enjoy patronizing locally owned sammich places. But next time I’m getting more soup. And not grilled cheese.

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