The Watercolor Cafe: Jazz, Food and Fun

There’s an oasis from the stress of daily life tucked away right on the busy Boston Post Road in Larchmont, NY: The Watercolor Cafe. Inside, you’ll find soothing decor, an upbeat vibe, great music, and, even more important, excellent food.

The deceptively small entrance opens onto a deep restaurant, with tables tucked into windows, a long bar, and more tables stretching down the length of the room. There’s a tandem feeling of both intimacy and community. The window’s painting of a wine glass filled with artist’s brushes is just one of the signs that this is no ordinary resting place. The colors are warm and vibrant without being intrusive. One can stop by for a quiet lunch on a weekday, a busier brunch on a weekend, or, in the evenings, mix a great meal with some terrific music.

I’ve eaten there several times, and each time the food was outstanding, as was the presentation. Chef Marco Veiera, a native of Brazil, has put together a cacophony of flavors that are simultaneously exciting and soothing; the staff is always helpful with suggestions, too.

As an Eggs Benedict aficionado, I can recommend all three of their variations: The regular Eggs Benedict, with Canadian bacon and hollandaise; the Eggs Maltese, which uses smoked salmon instead of bacon and orange hollandaise; and the Eggs Royale, with filet mignon instead of Canadian bacon and lobster hollandaise. There are one or two places I’ve found in this country that serve better Eggs Benedict, but that’s about it.

One of my favorites on the appetizer menu is the grilled chicken and beef sate. The spicy peanut-ginger sauce has just enough bite, but not too much to overwhelm the chicken and beef, and enhances the tang of the mango-papaya salsa served over the greens. My other favorite is the roasted sea scallops with pecans, shitake mushrooms and spinach in a white-wine lobster sauce. The wine sauce has the perfect balance — not too sweet, not too dry, and boots the flavor of the meaty scallops.

They’re no slouch in the sandwich department, with an assortment including: Maryland crab cakes on a roll; curried chicken with arugula; grilled mozzarella, tomato, and arugula on a baguette; and grilled turkey with sauteed onions and melted brie on seven grain bread. The fries are thin, crisp, light, and perfectly salted. The assortment of salads is almost delectable enough to convince me to eat goat cheese. The pastas are lovely, with perfectly blended sauces, especially the orecchiette with grilled chicken, served in a vodka sauce with pecans and spinach. I admit I pushed the pecans around on the plate at first, wondering what why they were there; however, they added a perfect crunch and unique flavor to the dish. The only disagreement I have is a charge of $3.95 if one wishes to split a plate.

The wine list is varied, and has wines both by the glass and the bottle, along with special wines of the day. The wine prices are reasonable for the area, and every wine I’ve tried has been excellent. The dessert menu includes chocolate mousse cake, tollhouse pie, Grand Marnier-flavored crÅ me caramel and apple strudel.

However, the Watercolor Cafe is not simply a feast for the body, in the traditional restaurant sense — you can soothe your soul with jazz, folk, and blues/pop — with Sundays being the day for a jazz brunch from 12 noon to 3 p.m. The schedule on the Web site kindly lists the schedule in a color-coded format: jazz in red, folk in green, and blues/pop in, fittingly, blue. They started hosting jazz about five years ago, and then expanded into folk, etc. Recently, owner Bruce Carroll, a singer/songwriter himself, added a Master Songwriters Workshop Series. Visiting artists usually hold workshops on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, later performing as part of the Folk Poet series at the Cafe in the evening. Artists leading workshops include Ellis Paul, Steve Forbert, Susan Werner, David Roth, Cliff Eberhardt, John Gorka, Vance Gilbert, and Sloane Wainwright. Since the artist creates the workshop, rather than fitting it into a previously-dictated format, each one is unique to the artist who leads it. (A single workshop is $100, while a series of five workshops is only $300.)

The Watercolor Cafe is a beautiful, energizing and delectable haven tucked in Westchester. It is located at 2094 Boston Post Road in Larchmont, NY. It’s open seven days a week from 11:30 AM until midnight. Major credit cards accepted. Telephone: 914.834.2213. At the time of the writing, prices ranged from $8.95 appetizers to $17.95 for the Eggs Royale to $9.95 for a classic turkey club to $23.95 for the grilled veal chop. : The Watercolor Cafe


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