Review: Brewster’s Italian CafeAuthor: EatHSE | Filed under: Food Reviews, Location: New Buffalo, MI, On The Road
Brewster’s Italian Cafe
11 West Merchant Street
New Buffalo, MI 49117
Brewster’s is a small Italian Café in New Buffalo, Michigan located just north of the Indiana border a couple of blocks off of Lake Michigan. Although New Buffalo gets dumped on with lake effect snow all winter long, it is a summer hotspot for summer vacationers and the Chicago crowd escaping the city. The menu at Brewster’s changes every day for both lunch and dinner making each visit a unique experience. This local owned café is a small establishment with a small indoor dining room along with tables beside the kitchen so you can watch all of the action. During the summer, there is a private shaded patio that with the cool Lake Michigan breeze gives visitors an opportunity to dine and enjoy the environment. The bar has a large beer selection including local brews from Michigan and a wine selection that gives diners plenty of choices.
Along with a la carte choices, which I list the individual prices of each menu item I reviewed below, you can choose the Dinner for Two if you are on a date. Dinner for Two includes smaller portions but provides a salad, pizza, entrée, and desert for $32.99. Some entree items such as the shrimp my wife and I chose add an additional charge of up to $6 and an additional $1.50 for the specialty pizza making our diner $40.49. I have copied the Dinner For Two description from their website below:
DINNER FOR TWO $32.99
You each begin with a House Salad, then you’ll split a pizza, followed by your choice of one of this evening’s Entrees. Cookies and coffee are included for Dessert $32.99
(Please add 1 for the Classico,3 for the Chicken and 6 for the Carne or Fruitta Di Mare)
What We Got:
Gazpacho; $3.99: Gazpacho is a raw tomato-based Spanish/Portuguese soup primarily served during the summer since it is served cold and there is a more abundant variety of seasonal vegetables to choose from. The Gazpacho is not part of the Dinner For Two but was actually my favorite dish of the whole night. The soup was acidic and bold, yet refreshing on this hot summer day. The teaspoon of sour cream added a base to balance the acidity. I am hoping our readers can point me to some Indianapolis area restaurants that serve a good Gazpacho.
House Salad: The salad was simple with spinach leaves, a few croutons, shredded cheese (probably parmesan) and a homemade Italian dressing that works well. The salad is nothing special but gets the job done.
Pizza with Crispy Pancetta, Baby Spinach and Scallions on a Gorgonzola Base; $11.99.
The pizza was very rich and we only ate half of it but enjoyed our choice. The crust at Brewster’s appears to be made in a wood burning oven giving it that nice crisp finish. I did not see a wood burning stove in the kitchen but appreciated the effort. Although I enjoyed this pizza, I would probably save the $1.50 and choose one of their more basic pizzas leaving you with more room for your entrée and dessert.
Tiger Shrimp, Brussels Sprouts, Broccolini and a Carrot & Bacon Sofritto; $23.99: I always have a high appreciation of Italian cooking that does not include pasta. This dish was cooked with butter and the addition of a small amount of bacon grease giving it a rich and salty flavor. Many people hate Brussel Sprouts but I say they just haven’t had them prepared correctly. The sprouts in this dish were fresh and did not include the water or mushiness of thawed sprouts. Cooked on the grill, they maintained the firmness but had unbelievable flavor. Ingredients were proportional but the six shrimp was a disappointment for two people sharing a meal.
Dessert. Cookie and Coffee:
I had the white macadamia nut and my wife went with the oatmeal raisin. These might be made in house, but if I remember correctly, I think a local bakery brings them in. Regardless, they are good cookies to go along with Brewster’s own coffee. The coffee has a nice kick to it but not overly bold like you find at some coffee houses. Although it is not on the menu, you can ask to buy a pound of the coffee ground or whole bean for $10 if you ask.
Would I It Again? Yes, without a doubt. This was my second visit to Brewster’s in a year and both times I walked away impressed and completely satisfied. On this visit, I sat next to the kitchen and watched the operation. The kitchen was spotless and organized. There was a visible head chef in charge and the kitchen ran smoothly with three chefs under his direction. Yes, the chef uses a clean pan for every dish he makes and at many places, they do not do this and you end up getting food that has flavors from another dish that should not be there. Service is outstanding in that drinks were constantly full, the table was never empty of food including the in house mad bread and oil and I never felt like anything was pushed on me by the server. The environment is local with the smallness of the restaurant, and the Bell’s Oberon Ale Kalamazoo, MI that I drank. If you are ever headed to Northwest Indiana or through that area of Michigan, stop by and get some great authentic Italian food for dinner or even one of their homemade deli sandwiches or frittatas for lunch.
Can a reader recommend a Gazpacho that comes close to matching theirs in the Indianapolis area?