Great Coffee, Good Vibes at Atomic Café

Posted: July 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Atomic Cafe, Beverly, Cafe | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Some places just have a good vibe, and Atomic Café is one of them. We stopped into their Beverly location for lunch recently and found the food very good, the coffee terrific, and the counter service eager to please. The place is small but manageable, and there’s something on the menu to please many palates, including a great selection of vegetarian options.

The goat cheese and pesto panini was the best of the three sandwiches we tried ($5). Crunchy grilled bread, well-flavored pesto, ripe tomato, and a generous serving of goat cheese made it a stand-out. We also liked the curried chicken salad ($6.25), with a hefty amount of chicken chunks in spiced-just-right mayo. The hummus special was fine, with a good amount of tomato and a fresh wheat wrap ($5). The thick-cut muenster cheese overpowered the hummus, but that’s a quibble more than a criticism. All sandwiches are served with a dill pickle and ruffle-cut chips, available on a selection of breads, and, if you’re eating in, served on ceramic rather than paper.

As you’d expect from a place that roasts their own coffee (available in store and online for $10 a pound and up), the iced coffee with milk was delicious ($1.90). We also tried the lemon Italian soda ($2.85) but found it too sugary.

Tempted by the bakery case, we tried a blondie and a frosted cupcake ($2-$3) and deemed both worth the calories. The cake was fairly moist, and the frosting was neither cloying nor overly sweet. The blondie was terrific—good sized, pleasingly dense, and filled with chunks of dark chocolate.

Atomic Café has a sister location in Marblehead with the same great coffee, friendly service, and pleasant vibe. The lunch menu is somewhat more limited, however.

Atomic Cafe
265 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 922-0042

14 School St, Marblehead
(781) 631-6464
www.atomicafe.com

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Putting Ingredients Front and Center: Beverly’s Soma

Posted: December 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: American, Beverly, Soma | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s one thing to have a feel for flavor combinations, it’s another to have a true passion for ingredients. That’s the feeling we got during our recent lunch at Beverly’s Soma—as though someone had lovingly hand selected each ingredient and combined them in the best way possible. Indeed, the Web site says quality ingredients (local when possible), creativity, and attention to detail are what the restaurant is all about.

We began with a wonderful appetizer of braised lamb and gnocchi ($9). The lamb was tender, the gnocchi were incredibly light, and they were both bathed in a rich sauce along with spinach and mushrooms.

Our entrees were equally satisfying. The fresh mozzarella and prosciutto panini ($8) was lightly crisped so as not to melt the thick slice of cheese and accompanied by wafer thin slices of prosciutto and very flavorful black olive tapenade. We picked cole slaw rather than fries, and it was great (freshly made with a dash of curry), but the fries we saw going by looked worth a try.

The garlic shrimp pizza ($9) had an abundance of toppings, including crisp/tender broccolini, on a marvelous crust—crispy and not too dense.

We shouldn’t have, but we had to try the Aphrodite chocolate cake, which came with vanilla bean ice cream and salted caramel sauce. Much lighter than the typical molten cake, it was rich, meltingly tender, and not too sweet. A bite of cake with the sauce and ice cream put us in dessert heaven.

If you’re looking for a relaxing lunch spot with top-notch food, Soma should be at the top of your list. The service was superb, and the menu is varied enough to please just about any craving, including a large wine selection and the option to build your own pizza from a list of 41 ingredients.

The dinner menu also looks great, and we’re sure the food will not disappoint, but be aware that bar, which specializes in creative martinis, gets quite lively on weekends. If that’s not your thing, try a weeknight or daytime visit to truly appreciate this kitchen’s
well-crafted meals.

Soma
256 Cabot Street, Beverly
(978) 524-0033
www.somabeverly.com
Soma Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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