Review: Forget the Food, Soak in the Atmosphere
A $10 dollar charge for every person under the reservation (credited to the bill) and $5 to park. That’s Cafe Intermezzo’s reservation and parking policy, and for a coffee-shop-gone-bistro, rather absurd policies if you ask me. But externalities aside, Intermezzo is a nice getaway from Atlanta’s usual places, even if the food and desserts aren’t that great.
Cafe intermezzo has the kind of romantic European charm that keeps customers coming back. Tables for two, dim lighting against dark wood, a giant window display of desserts (all homemade presumably) — the place is adorable and with two locations, clearly popular among Atlantans.
But there are aspects of Intermezzo that aren’t so wonderful. The menu is uninspired, burdened with heavy cream sauces, often repetitive, and boring preparations.
Appetizer of herbed goat cheese medallions with roasted red pepper coulis was the best of three ordered. The cheese was plentiful, distinct and covered in breadcrumbs. The spinach dip was spicier than most but nothing you can’t have in a bar and grill, and probably because brie is my least favorite cheese, the baked brie was my least favorite appetizer.
As for entrees, linguine alfredo tossed in a “creamy lemon-pepper parmesan sauce” had better adjectives on the menu than execution on the plate. Boring and near flavorless. The italian gnocchi, this time drowned in a “lemon-rosemary cream sauce,” was good for three bites at the most before becoming a “man v.s. food” challenge. Gnocchi is a starchy item, and while a nice wintery cream sauce may sound appealing, the reality is that the dish becomes near impossible to finish.
The better entrees of the night were the grilled wild alaskan salmon, which had a sweet profile in an unexpected way, and the wild mushroom and prosecution ravioli in a presto cream sauce. Again though, the pesto cream sauce was a heavy addition that muddled any chance of subtlety or elegance. Still tasted good, but difficult to finish.
Shame on Intermezzo for a failed tiramisu as dry as the Sahara and as sober as a Mormon. The cheesecake tiramisu was the better choice (the cheese gave an impression of moistness). Finally, my favorite item of the night was a hot chocolate made from nutella. It’s worth going to Cafe Intermezzo just for that after a meal at another restaurant.
Service was generally lacking as our waitress disappeared just long enough for the table to fit in a game of Scrabble if we wanted to. But despite the slow service, heavy winter entrees, and dry tiramisu, Cafe Intermezzo serves Atlanta not with its food but with its atmosphere that accommodates dates and intimate get-togethers quite well.