Friday, December 7, 2018

A visit to C&B Cafe on 7th Street

Text and photos by Stacie Joy

It's early evening when I arrive at C&B Cafe, 178 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and Avenue B, for the start of dinner service. The interior is intimately lit, with the sounds of Isaac Hayes coming from the record player. (Yes, an actual turntable and stylus.)

Chef and owner Ali Sahin is cutting up chickens while prep chef Sayvon “Sam” Flemings is chopping eggplant into symmetrical cubes for tadig, an Iranian dish served here with tomato, asparagus and a poached egg over crispy Persian rice. The freshly prepared chicken will be made into several meals: breast meat for sandwiches, made with avocado and lemon juice, chicken legs for the chicken and eggs breakfast bowl as well as braising for the dish’s accompanying jus, and bones for making stock.

[Sam Flemings]

Bread is proofing gently on racks, about to be transferred overnight to the tiny and well-organized cold storage. C&B creates and serves two kinds of breads, a 4-pound sourdough loaf that takes three days to make, and the round bread rolls for sandwiches and burgers. Ali uses a bit of aged or “old” dough in each batch to add tang and flavor to the finished product.

Best sellers at the small restaurant include the sausage egg and cheese (with either merguez or chorizo) and one of Sahin's’s favorites, menemen, a Turkish breakfast. Sahin, who is Turkish, makes the dish with tomatoes, garlic and onion, oregano and spicy red peppers, finished with two scrambled eggs stirred into the cooked dish.

Barista Sade King selects a new album, “On the Radio: Greatest Hits (volume 1)” by Donna Summer and rings up the midweek burger-and-fries dinner special for a local repeat customer before making a cup of Callebaut-chocolate-based hot cocoa with steamed whole milk.

She reflects on the recent rise in popularity of oat milk, while Sahin uses a propane torch to flame-finish the cheese on the burger. “No lettuce today,” he informs the customer, due to the CDC’s temporary banning of romaine. Before he can even answer (he is fine with it!) Sahin has already turned his attention to his roasted red peppers, which will be used for the housemade (and available for sale) hot sauce, cooked down with roasted garlic and habaneros. He winces a bit as he tastes it: “Spicy!” he announces, satisfied.

[Ali Sahin]

C&B Cafe, 178 E. Seventh St. between Avenue A and Avenue B, is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. You can keep up with C&B Cafe on Instagram here. The Cafe opened in January 2015.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A visit to the Tompkins Square Library branch on 10th Street

A visit to Bali Kitchen on 4th Street

A visit to Eat’s Khao Man Gai on 6th Street

A visit to Yoli Restaurant on 3rd Street

Preparing for Saturday's dinner at Il Posto Accanto on 2nd Street

A visit to the Streecha Ukrainian Kitchen on 7th Street

A trip to the recently expanded Lancelotti Housewares on Avenue A


Anonymous said...

C&B is awesome for breakfast...and now that I know they make tadig, I need to check it out for dinner!

Neighbor said...

C&B has the best breakfast sandwiches around. Such fluffy eggs!

Anonymous said...

Love this place! Egg sandwiches are amazing and the coffee is on point too.

Anonymous said...

Nice writeup! Do a new local place each week ;)

bruce said...

Love C&B. Ali is a really lovely guy, and the rolls are amazing! Their Egg & Cheese is the best.

Perhaps Stacie would like to do a recurring Out & About in the EV style feature on neighborhood restaurants? :-D

Scott said...

She's already doing a weekly feature. Check the "A Visit To" label, which I dig having access to. Now I just need to come through with checking these places out myself.

J Jackson said...

One of my all-time favorite neighborhood breakfasts...looking forward to trying the new items on the menu.

Anonymous said...

Ali's place is exactly on point, and his success is just a total joy. The food is great, he is a wonderful person, and the vibe there is perfect. It is our favorite place, and we are local to the neighborhood (just like Ali!)...

Anonymous said...

As a fellow Turk, I have to agree that Ali Sahin's menemen is one of the best I've ever eaten.

marjorie said...

HOW did I not know about this place?? And such lovely writing and pix from Stacie Joy, brava.