When I think of the word cafeteria, the visuals that come to mind are women in hairnets, greasy aprons, food that looked and tasted unappetizing, rows of tables with trays resting on top of them and dozens of kids prattling away. But a visit to Cafeteria, located on 119 7th Avenue, provided a fresh, scrumptious memory and gave new life to a faded term.
The Chelsea eatery resides on the corner and has an outdoor bistro for patrons who want to dine and soak up the atmosphere of the Village. Inside the restaurant possesses a clean, modern aesthetic with comfortable brown benches, white chairs and a bar located towards the back. Candles on the tables offer a dim, intimate look in the evening and the huge windows allow natural light to brighten the space during the day.
The food is just as pleasing as the décor and vibe. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Cafeteria offers its customers a lip-smacking selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes at moderate price points. Their silver dollar pancakes served with fresh berries and Chantilly cream is a delicious start to any day. The petite flapjacks are cooked to a golden perfection as well as mouthwatering. The tomato basil soup with grilled cheese croutons is a warm treat on a chilly or rainy afternoon. For dinner, the grilled mahi mahi is an excellent choice; served with crushed avocado, spicy mango chutney, cilantro cream and a crisp tortilla salad this dish has the right amount of heat without being too hot. The meatloaf, served with garlic mashed potatoes, green beans and roasted tomato relish, is a great choice for the hungry man or woman looking fill his or her belly with some comfort food.
The portions at Cafeteria are large enough to take a doggy bag with you, and besides serving delectable food, they also present an array of desserts and eclectic cocktails. The lunch rooms that I spent my childhood eating in are a far cry from this chic restaurant. FAMERs I recommend giving Cafeteria a visit, they are always open.