While wandering around Downtown on Samson street looking for a dinner spot, I heard the smooth sounds of local jazz guitarist Victor Baker, who was playing inside Chris’ Jazz Café. My attention was full on as my ears locked onto the notes of his guitar escaping the café and lured me in as though I was a sailor at sea, and the music was being played by sirens.
The Jazz Café is stuck in the middle of a gritty urban city block with alley like surroundings; I crossed the street and was warmly greeted at the door of the café. My greeter led me past a bar area and deep into the restaurant's dining area, where Victor’s band was playing. The dimly lit room had very nice acoustics and provided an intimate view of the performers on stage.A Jazz Café - not a Jazz Club
To be honest, at this point, I think I would’ve been happy enough just having this bands fine music to listen to with some decent bar food, because walking in I admittedly had low expectations for the kind of food I normally get at night clubs. Shame on me; the dinner menu was surprisingly complex, and the specials were intriguing, so as the name suggests; it’s a Café and not a Club.
My waiter came by and informed me that one of those specials was a chefs three course tasting menu; so immediately my mind was made up to see what these guys could do back in the kitchen.
Delicious warm crusty bread rolls appeared in a bread basket, I think I ate two three by the time the first course came out. An appetizer plate of three succulent jumbo shrimp on a bed of greens prepared with an Asian flare. The shrimp were grilled, had sesame seeds and a slightly sweet sauce, they were really good.
The chef decided to follow the shrimp with a chicken saltimbocca. The cheese melt on the prosciutto with a light mushroom gravy was really great.
The band broke for a short break, and I took the opportunity to shift my seat up front for an even better view. And when my dessert pumpkin torte showed up, Victor retook the stage as if on cue.
Great music from a specially talented artist up front accompanied by a talented chef in the back kitchen made for an exceptional night.