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Roving Rita's Restaurant Review: Lillian's Cafe, Audubon

Hello, again Gentle Readers! Due to the kind requests of

several fans I, Roving Rita, will again offer up reviews of restaurants in the Gloucester City, Audubon, Haddon Heights, Bellmawr, Mt Ephraim, and Brooklawn area.

 On a cold week-night, my companion and I embarked on our hunt for the perfect evening meal. Once again, our choice was Lillian's Cafe (34 W Merchant St, Audubon 08106, 856-547-1902), a charming BYOB in the heart of Audubon's shopping district. We arrived at 6:30 PM and, after standing about uncertainly, a customer seated at a nearby table instructed us to "sit anywhere". Our waitress arrived within seconds and apologized for the inconvenience. We later discovered she was the only wait-person working that evening.

We were immediately served warm rolls and an herb-flavored butter, deliciously scented and a treat for the palate. We ordered bruschetta as an appetizer and its crunchy tartness was a hit with both of us. The plate was on which it was served was creatively decorated with a honey-balsamic vinegar drizzle that opened the sinuses while tickling the taste buds.

My companion ordered the pork chop special (with cranberry chutney, broccoli, and baked apple) while I ordered seafood tortellini with a creamy basil pesto sauce. My companion, a generous fellow, allowed me to taste a sumptuous morsel of his pork chop and I fairly swooned at the culinary rhapsody it evoked.

Lillians fareMy entree (pictured) was crisp, creamy, sweet, savory, pungent, and perfect, causing your friend Rita to marvel at its harmonious development. Between the perfect sear on the scallops and the absolutely clean and well-seasoned shrimp, this dish would have made Gordon Ramsey kiss the cook. There was enough left over for a good-sized meal, which our server carefully wrapped in a plastic container for ease of re-creating at my home the next day.

This restaurant offers a choice of coffee, espresso, or cappuchino, a luxury not seen on many eateries' menus but which was enjoyed in its simplicity, at Lillian's Cafe.

Our dessert consisted of a luxuriously rich chocolate and espresso brownie, served with both ice cream and whipped cream, warm and scrumptuous enough to coax even the most scrupulous calorie counter to polish it off and worry about the consequences, later.

I do hope you will visit Lillian's Cafe to see for yourself how food should be prepared. Its executive chef is a recent graduate of culinary school and came out of the kitchen to speak with us about the meal; she was as delightful as the food she had created for us.

Rita gives this restaurant the following overall review:

Atmosphere: 4.5 out of 5 stars (loved the linens, would have adored candles on the tables)

Service: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Food: 5 out of 5 stars

Economy: Dinner for 2 on a weeknight, including appetizer, entree, coffee, and dessert came to $56, not including the tip. (We brought our own wine).

If you choose to visit this wonderfully charming eatery, tell them Rita sent you!

Please feel free to suggest new places for review in the aforementioned areas and respond to Cleary's Notebook (cnbnews.net) with comments.

Until next time,

Keep on Roving!



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