Would we go back:
421 14th Ave SE
• Maine Mussels with tomato, basil, white wine sauce $6.95 (shared)
• Butternut Squash Ravioli $10.95
• Galatoburiko - cream of rice pudding wrapped in phyllo dough, served with light orange syrup and whipped cream $5.95
I have been to Kafe 421 many times for lunch. I absolutely love it for lunch, they have outdoor seating in the summer and a nice cozy back room in the winter and a great portobello mushroom sandwich anytime of the year.
I was a little disappointed when we got there and we had to sit in the front part of the restaurant, but as we sat there I realized this is a totally different restaurant during lunch and dinner. During lunch there seems to be lots of people coming and going, during dinner it is much quieter, which makes the front room a nice place to sit as well.
I was very excited to find that the food was even better for dinner than it was for lunch, now to be fair I usually do not stray from the sandwich/salad section of the menu for lunch, and the last couple of times I have been there the mussels have been available for lunch, but I stuck with my sandwich. I now wish I had gotten them before as they were wonderful. My ravioli were very good a very simple but solid presentation of a favorite. Dessert was unusual, but I really liked it.
I would say this is one of your best bets in the dinkytown area for either lunch or dinner.
• Cardel - Seared Scallops w/ coconut risotto, mango salsa, and chive oil $14.95
• Samana - semisweet chocolate torta with vanilla ice cream
Parking is a major headache at Kafé 421. But by some minor miracle, we found a spot at a meter right in front of Kafé 421. Once we were inside, we knew we were on the U of M campus, where conversation slipped between films and Ashley Simpson’s SNL debacle (and that was on a hockey night).
But anyway so, our appetizer special, the Maine mussels in white wine sauce, was delicious. There were plenty of tasty mussels for a price a college student could be tempted (maybe for a special Valentine’s Day date).
Kafé 421 then proved it wasn’t a fluke with some delectable seared scallops with coconut risotto and mango salsa. Everything was perfectly done and the flavors balanced well. Again, the price was a bargain for this quality and this presentation.
I was less impressed with the dessert. The samana, or molten chocolate cake, was average compared to most comparable desserts of this kind – a little on the dry side, average chocolate, and everyday ice cream.
Overall, this is a great choice for dinner in Dinkytown, and it’s worth walking a few blocks if you don’t find a space in front.
January 29, 2005