7 Train to Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue
I was excited to find out that Cranky's Cafe has occupied the old Brazil Coffee House space. Even though I was sad to see the latter go, it was still nice to see a promising, new cafe take its place. The name Cranky's immediately drew me in and I couldn't wait to find out more. Overall, my experience was really pleasant and I'd gladly return soon.
What I love about the interior of Cranky's is how spacious it is. I always thought it was a tad too large as a coffee house, but as a proper cafe it works. The ceilings are high and the walls are painted in cheery tones like sage green. Some of the walls are exposed with rustic bricks and overall, the appearance is a mix of new and old. Old because I noticed that some of the furniture from the old Brazil Coffee House has been salvaged.
One of my favorite things about Cranky's is that it has an extensive bookshelf that divides the dining area, and is stocked with popular books, cards and various board games. Dan and I picked up a deck of cards and enjoyed a few games of gin before our food arrived.
We were bummed to miss brunch service by a half hour, but stayed for lunch instead. Both of us took to our sandwiches and couldn't leave without sharing one of the freshly baked pastries that taunted us as we came in.
The Clucker - This was my sandwich and I was very impressed with it. First off, the bread was just plain awesome--the soft, buttery brioche bun was a pleasure to sink your teeth into, reminding you almost of a croissant. The contents were pretty great too with grilled chicken, marinated in balsamic honey, topped with sauteed mushrooms and the thinnest slivers of pears, providing a hint of sweetness. Yuuum! This certainly wasn't your ordinary grilled chicken sandwich. My only complaint was about the side salad - it was really scrawny, with just a few lonely leaves and cucumber on a plate.
The Cranky Reuben Panini - Yet another winner, the bread was again a clear stand-out in this dish. It was perfectly crispy with deep, toasty ridges from the panini press. The contents included smoky roasted turkey, red cole slaw (my favorite) and gooey Swiss cheese. It all melded together beautifully and created a perfect bite, with a crunchy finish from the slaw. But just as was the case with my sandwich, the side salad was pitiful.
Chocolate Croissant - I had a hard time deciding on a dessert because everything looked so amazing. Wavering between the chocolate croissant and the apricot danish, I finally picked the chocolate because according to one of the employees, it was a best seller. How could I refuse? I was thoroughly excited about my pick, proudly bringing it back to the table for Dan and I to devour. We cut the pastry open and were shocked at what we saw. "Where was the chocolate?" we both thought, as we saw two teeny chunks of dark chocolate at the very bottom of the pastry. It was sad. While the pastry itself was delicous, flaky and buttery, the chocolate part was a flop. I wouldn't recommend this at all and will definitely go for the apricot danish next time.
Service and Cost:
Our waitress wasn't bad but you could tell she was new, as she seemed a bit overwhelmed and forgot about us a couple of times. She was really friendly and agreeable though and I can't say anything else negative aside from the fact that she just needs more practice.
Costs are reasonable and include the following:
Breakfast: $5.95 - $6.95
Salads: $5.95 - $9.95
Sandwiches & Paninis: $5.95 - $9.25
Dessert: $2 - $4.50