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Haute Spot: A New York State of Mind | Truffles n Bacon Café

If you’ve ever been to NYC, you’ve seen your share of teeny tiny café’s that, while nothing fancy to look at, serve up big, bold food that speaks for itself.  Small, 30-seat establishments found in the strangest nooks and crannies of the neighborhood, plating decadent mac ‘n’ cheese, homemade corned beef Rueben’s, and signature burgers loaded with addictive accompaniments you wouldn’t expect to find in a restaurant devoid of celebrity chef involvement.  Here on the west coast, small restaurants like these generally have wheels beneath their kitchens, opting for a ride on the food truck band wagon rather than finding a storefront that’s manageable and makes sense for a lunch-only customer base.  This is what makes Truffles n Bacon Café, located at 6665 S. Eastern Ave., a unique addition to the local food scene.   They’re bringing an east coast attitude to the west and, in the process, sending a lot of hungry diners to hog heaven.

By: Aly Wagonseller

Frustrated by the high rents and competition of the Manhattan market place, co-owner Magnolia Magat and company decided to uproot to Vegas. With a dream to open a small café, they enlisted the help of veteran chef Jacqueline Lim.  No slouch in the success department, Lim has garnered numerous awards in the culinary industry, working alongside celebrity chefs including Lydia Bastianich and Wolfgang Puck at various charitable and Academy Award Night events.  With belongings in tow, Magat found a quaint, albeit unlikely home inside the Antiques at the Market facility across from Sunset Park, and TNB was born.

Although you might expect everything to have some form of bacon or truffle flavor in its ingredient list, this isn’t the case.  Sure… there’s that outstanding, homemade bacon jam that could (and should) accompany EVERYTHING on the plate, but Lim brings a refined, umami sensibility to more casual, deli style food that doesn’t necessarily need the crutch of pig fat to make it successful.  We started with the Pimp My Bruschetta. Mix and match toppings makes this great for sharing, our group choosing Minty Peas with Bacon Jam (of course), Grilled Haloumi Cheese with Sautéed Grapes and Babaganoush.  The toast was thicker and softer than most bruschetta, a really good thing considering the toppings, all of which were incredibly flavorful.  Babaganoush had a lovely, lemony and light consistency, while the crusty, caramelized Haloumi cheese with savory and sweet grapes was a personal favorite. 

Next came some of the best sandwiches this side of the Hudson.  The Rueben (one of many “Specials” of the day that also included Chicken and Waffles and a Cuban Burger) was absolute perfection.  Homemade corned beef is lean and juicy, cut slightly thicker than usual and served with the subtle crispness of sauerkraut that somehow doesn’t overpower the sandwich like it so often can. House made Thousand Island was creamy and less sweet than cheaper versions commercially made, making for a legit balance of flavors.   Mmm.  Simply Jessie, a smoked salmon and egg salad sandwich on marble rye might sound odd, but you’d be missing out on one of the tastiest sandwiches I’ve ever eaten if you balk!  Why anyone would mix these two is a cute story in itself (just ask Magnolia for the lowdown) but it’s sheer genius the way the smoky fish tones down the richness of the mayo-based egg. Really, really good.  And the crème de la crème show stopper?  The TNB Café Signature Hamburger.  GUT BUSTER, can’t miss it, must have again! A juicy patty is topped with a hunky square of fried mac ‘n’ cheese that somehow remains creamy,  smokysweet bacon jam, spicy Sriracha ketchup or mayo (your choice) all on a lightly toasted brioche bun.  Patent pending as a surefire cure for late night alcohol overindulgence?  You bet.  All sandwiches are served with your choice of house made sweet potato or Yukon gold potato chips, fries or tator tots lightly tossed in truffle oil (hence the truffle in the name of the establishment that’s, thankfully, not overdone).  

Truffles n Bacon Café is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon.-Sat. and 12 p.m.  to 4 p.m. on Sunday. They also deliver within a limited radius, but why miss out on the eclectic array of antiques you’ll see as you walk through the market to the restaurant?   It is, after all, very NYC to shop and eat in the neighborhood.  For takeout or questions on catering, call them at 917-697-7170.   

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