Italian. Caribbean. Cajun. American. Asian.
The menu at Café Mirage looks like a culinary world tour.
Aside from an illuminated sign, the restaurant looks unspectacular from the outside. Inside, it's another story – the quaint ambiance gives way to an outdoor patio illuminated by a string of brightly colored lights, with votive candles marking each place setting at the tables.
On a warm summer evening, my companion and I gladly accepted an outdoor table.
A bread basket that was placed in between us as we looked over our menus. Instead of the standard bread and butter, the bread was accompanied by a dipping bowl of spicy hummus. It was a nice Middle Eastern touch before our meal.
For drinks, we each ordered two of the establishment's signature cocktails: my date ordered a mango, and I ordered a pomegranate margarita. Both were well-sized and iced, perfect concoctions for a summer night. Instead of a thin layer of salt rimming the glass as per usual with most drinks of this kind, the margaritas at Café
Mirage contained salt as part of the mixture.
From the list of specials read out to us, I chose a black bean soup for my appetizer. My roommate decided on a fresh mixed green salad, complete with carrots, tomatoes, red onions, and dressed with dijon balsamic vinaigrette. The dressing and vegetables resulted in a cool and refreshing cleansing of the palette before our mountainous entrées.
My black bean soup, on the other hand, was a warm and delicious introduction to the rest of my meal. Heartier than I expected, there even seemed to be a subtle spice added. There was also a tasty salted undertone that wasn't too intense, and the portion was light enough that I didn't feel full before the meal.
Soon after my date and I were given a few minutes to let our appetizers settle, the main event arrived—for me, the steak frites, and for her, the coconut curry shrimp.
The dish consisted of skirt steak, green peppercorn sauce, salad greens and pommes frites. Frites are the equivalent of French fries in many parts of Europe. The beef practically melted in my mouth because of its softness.
There was relatively no fat to be found anywhere on the skirt. This was refreshing, because sometimes one has to remove the fatty parts as standard protocol when ordering any dish of this nature. Finally, I was happy to be given an equally sizeable proportion of both the steak and smaller accessories.
My companion felt this way about the amount of food she was given for her dish. For one, she was greeted with more shrimp than she expected, which was a relief since many restaurants tend to skimp on the shellfish in entrées like this one. As for the dressing, she described the sauce over them as "pleasantly tangy." Her satisfaction proved that she made the right decision in choosing "medium" spice, over "mild" or "volcanic."
Spicy and simple elements contrasted in the seafood dish. As a side, my guest received neutral white rice and a mix of vegetables, which she said helped to balance out the multiple personalities of the curry coconut shrimp.
Our server was attentive, friendly, and professional. When we ordered, he gave us great recommendations on dishes based on our respective palettes.
Most importantly, everything we ordered came in a timely manner. One feature of eating at a restaurant that should not be undervalued is the art of the presentation. In this case, we were given enough time for each installment of the meal to settle in our bellies before the next course.
For a romantic evening, or even a simple friendly night out, this restaurant is worth the trek from across Westchester.