Tucked away on Route 23 after White Horse Road and the Citgo station, you’ve probably passed Café 23 a thousand times.
There’s a lonely placard sitting next to the road, advertising breakfast and lunch seven days a week with dinner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, but unless you’re stuck at the light at White Horse Road, you’ve probably driven right past it, too busy thinking about what you need to do when you get home. That’s a loss, because Café 23 is worth stopping for.
Dinner menus are posted on Facebook on Thursdays. They usually include a chicken dish, seafood dish, beef or pork dish and a pasta dish. I hadn’t taken my husband on a review meal in ages, so when I saw the week’s menu, I immediately “asked him out.”
Staff, and a couple of regulars, welcomed us warmly when we arrived. We were given the week’s choices and prices for the three-course dinners, which include choice of soup or salad, entrée and dessert. The waitress brought us a basket of commercial potato rolls and pre-packaged butter while we pondered our choices.
As the soup of the week was Spiced Pumpkin (and I love winter squash), I picked the soup. It was warm, rich with pumpkin and rounded out with pie spices.
My husband chose the house salad which was fresh mixed greens, grape tomatoes and chunks of cucumber with an oil and vinegar dressing.
For entrées, I chose the Salmon with a Citrus Sauce ($19.95), which was tender salmon topped with Mandarin Orange slices. My husband picked the Chicken with Mango-Cranberry Salsa ($16.95), a lightly breaded and pan-fried chicken breast covered with chopped fresh mango and cranberries. Sides for both entrées included fresh buttered green beans and roasted red potatoes. Everything was beautifully arranged on the square white plates and cooked to al dente perfection.
One chooses desserts from a tray brought to your table. I liked the idea of the Pumpkin-Sage Cake, but the Layered Chocolate Cake looked so decadent that I slid it off the dessert tray instead. My husband loves raspberry, so he chose the Raspberry Crumb Cake. Like everything else at our meal (excepting only the rolls), the desserts were light and expertly prepared with top quality ingredients. Coffee was offered, but as it’s a morning drink for us, we declined.
Service was friendly and attentive. The entire staff (waitress, chef and owner) stops by your table to inquire that everything is to your liking; they genuinely want you to enjoy your meal and your time at the restaurant. Considering the quality of the ingredients and the skill that puts them together, it’s easy to enjoy both the meal and the intimate, wood-beamed surroundings.
Dinners have only been offered since last month—one’s receipt is a coupon for $5 off a dinner check redeemed in the next 14 days—but if our experience is any guide, Café 23 can be a lovely getaway on the edge of Phoenixville with someone special.
If You Go:
Location: 847 Valley Forge Road (Route 23), Phoenixville
Cost: Dinner $16.95 to $19.95
Hours: Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dinner (Thursday, Friday, Saturday): 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Payments accepted: Cash
Parking: Free Parking Lot