Type of Cuisine: German
Location: 79 Orchard Street, New York, NY
Hours: 11 AM – 12 AM
Cafe Katja is a surprising discovery.
I stumbled into this cafe whilst walking around the Chinatown area. From the outside, this cafe looked more like a bar than a cafe, and the opening hours does suggest this. Intrigued by this little restaurant, I walked in to inspect the interior. The interior was decorated with mostly wood furniture, with a large wooden rectangular countertop in the middle of the room.
The whole cafe was manned (or should I say womanned) by a lone waitress who cheerfully greeted us and led us to our table. The menu is small, with around 10 choices to choose from for the main course and 4-5 appetizers, which is the perfect number of choices for a person with a mild case of allodoxaphobia (the fear of options) like me. The menu is composed of English and German words, with a German translation key at the back of the menu. Using Steve Harvey’s “I don’t eat what I can’t pronounce” mindset, I swiftly eliminated half of these options and opted for a pretzel and dips appetizer and a smoked salmon main course.
The pretzel was served with homemade butter and paprika dip, and a tub of honey mustard. Feeling a little dry in the throat, I then ordered a cup of homemade lemonade with elderflower, which was absolutely divine.
It did not take long for the main course to arrive. The smoked salmon was slightly seared on one side, served on top of a dollop of mashed potatoes, blanched chard and potato puree foam. As the waitress kindly explains, the salmon was hickory-smoked and was smoked in this restaurant. The dish was light and delicate, with hints of mustard flavor. The potato puree foam elevates the salmon’s buttery texture and the chard adds a tart flavor to the dish.
Overall, this meal was out of my expectation and the cafe was definitely a cafe that I would love to come back to. Again, here is a picture of my seared hickory-smoke salmon. 🙂