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Review: Angel's Cafe & Gallery in Ferndale

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About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Angel's Cafe in Ferndale

Angel's Cafe

Photo © Laura Sternberg, Licensed to About.com
This restaurant is hard to rate along side much bigger establishments or chains. It can’t compete in speed or menu size; but if you appreciate a European-style, neighborhood café with a menu and atmosphere infused with character and love, then Angel’s Café fills the bill.

Atmosphere:

Angel’s Café is a store-front restaurant along 9 Mile Road in Ferndale. Its dining space is long and narrow and reaches back midway into the bowels of the building. The back room, apparently used for banquets, has another dining area dominated by a large, stained-glass window. The main dining area is carpeted with yellow walls, faux wicker chairs and white tablecloths. Real flowers adorn the tables and the owner/chef’s paintings adorn the walls. In fact, there is a self portrait on an easel by the front window.

Food:

The lunch menu proved a great bargain as all dishes are $5.95 and include a side salad. The portions, however, are that of a dinner entrée and include chicken, vegan and pasta dishes. The Rosemary Lemon Chicken includes two chicken breasts served over cous cous with a side of steamed vegetables. With this dish the amount of seasoning is often crucial; it is easy to use too much or too little rosemary and lemon, but owner/chef Keith Pierce hits it spot on. The cous cous was fluffy and the vegetables perfectly steamed.

The Florentine Cheese Ravioli is topped with a nutmeg/béchamel sauce and Romano cheese. It is finished with Portabella mushrooms, walnuts, broccoli and put under the broiler. The flavors of the sauce blend nicely and the walnuts and broccoli provide a good contrast in texture. This is the kind of dish that makes you eat your broccoli and then lick the dish.

Desserts apparently change daily, but Pierce seems able to whip up a mousse on a moment’s notice, which he did to our specifications. We chose chocolate. It was made with real whipped cream, served in a large wine glass with chocolate drizzles and topped with chocolate-dipped strawberries.

The dinner menu includes fish and salad selections. It also offers a house ($9.25 to $13.75) or large-sized ($14.95 to $18.95) portion for each dish.

Service:

It’s rare to find the kind of small, hole-in-the wall restaurant where the owner serves as chef/waiter and sometimes host if so needed. I suspect we walked into Angel’s when Pierce was having a bad day. His waitress was stuck in the snow and his dish washer was late. While we dined, the city health inspector showed up for a surprise visit. Even so, Angel was cordial, honest and devoted to giving us a great dining experience.

He makes his food from scratch and his love for cooking clearly shows. The meal took a while because it is made to order, but then Pierce warned us up front that if we were in a hurry, we may want to consider going elsewhere –- this honesty is a real rarity when dining out.

Angel’s Café is the kind of neighborhood eatery that makes you feel like you’ve been invited into Pierce’s kitchen for a home-cooked meal and some conversation. It also feels like the kind of establishment where everybody knows your name. I may be wrong about that, but I intend to find out through repeated visits in the future.

Pros:

  • Lunch is a real value
  • Distinctive dishes
  • Atmosphere is casual and friendly
  • Vegan selections

Cons:

  • Owner envisions a cafe where you can sit a spell -- and you will
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Incredibly delicious food, Member birmingham48009

The author really did an excellent job in describing the nuances of this cafe. Oh, where do I begin? Appetizers: The Tuscan Tomato soup is to die for. The salad is made with homemade dressing. Sometimes his raspberry ginger vinagerette can be too spicy, but I love ginger, so this doesn't bother me. The vegetable vinegarette is likewise addictive. The Crostini mista is a sauteed vegetable stew served atop herbed bread with a small amount of melted cheese. When eating it, one wonders ""how, how could it be so good?"" The cucina mista is a mix of vegetables, incredible raviolis, cheese, and spices that will knock your socks off. It's so much food, you will wonder why you ordered an entree! And I haven't even begun to describe the wonderful entrees and the stunning dessert. The chef processes his own chocolate ganache and dips fruits in it, tops cakes with it, makes his own toasted coconut mousse, etc. The atmosphere there is EXTREMELY relaxing. It's a combination of (intentionally) slow service (slow because he makes the food from scratch), the decor, the music, lighting, and overall ambience. Very relaxing! Enjoy.

2 out of 3 people found this helpful.

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