By Brianna Lackwood ’17
Whether it be to gather with friends and converse over hot beverages or enjoy tasty treats by your lonesome, Caffé Bene is the go-to spot. As a relatively new cafe in the Flatbush neighborhood across from the Brooklyn College campus this café’s fresh, welcoming vibe, yummy foods, and convenient location are what keep students and passers by coming back for more.
By the time I was fully immersed in the store, I was placed in a trance. Immediately, I was hit with the aroma of something sweet possibly in the makings behind the counter, and I grew curious. The fake food display by the front entrance only added to my wonders as I made a mental note, exaggerating of course, to try everything on the menu.
Before I placed an order in hopes at calming my food related woes, I could not help but consider the shop’s decor. The color scheme consists of brown and its lighter variations like beige. Centered at the walkway toward the back of the Café is a rather large clock that serves more of an ornament. The same can be said for the bookshelf display at the shop’s rear. A television placed on the hallway wall loops videos of Caffé Bene’s Manhattan locations.The wooden and brick walls of the interior complement each other and give the place a homey, chill vibe. Mini pendant and track lights hang from the ceilings casting the area with a studio-like appeal. This in addition to the mellow music and comfortable, cushioned seating only made the shop more attractive to the senses. I felt as if I had trailed into someone’s kitchen, following the scent and hoping that whatever it belonged to would ease my hunger.
Inside, many sat talking, working on their computers, or just staring into space possibly as intrigued as I was. This image made me sure of one thing: Caffé Bene hosts a warm, friendly environment welcome to all. I was then sure I was in the right place and further compelled to finally order. The worker greeted me standardly asking what I would like to have.
In the spirit of the holidays and because of my affinity for mints, I ordered the seasonal Peppermint Mocha in a small cup. I also picked a customer favorite from the relatively pricy menu: the portabella sandwich. In total I paid $9.45 thanks to a 20% discount that saved me $2.18; the sandwich costs $6.95, and the drink costs $3.95. At the conclusion of my order I was given a restaurant pager designated for to-stay requests. I deduced that the items should and would live up to their price and the 9 minute wait.
The mocha tasted as expected with its intended chocolate latte flavor. Atop the warm beverage lay a much appreciated island of whip cream drizzled modestly with chocolate syrup. Overall, the drink was satisfying even though any sign of peppermint came as a slight aftertaste. The sandwich stood out as a highlight. On toasted ciabatta lay mozzarella cheese melted atop portabella mushrooms, onions, spinach and an almost negligible amount of mustard. The sandwich was as savory as I had hoped. Altogether, the combination was worth the price.
If you have the time, take a trip to Caffé Bene even if it’s just to admire its winsome features. One visit to this café is sure to leave a lasting impression.