The West End is awash with restaurants that lack character. The chains do it by design. The absence of history and the urban sprawl seem to take care of the rest. So finding a good spot to just hang and become a regular at seems like a futile effort. Enter Caffespresso, my parents go to spot two days a week and another recommendation from Ethan’s sister-in-law, Sarah.
Nestled in the belly of
Southampton Tuckahoe (nice try urbanspoon) the cafe is part coffee bar and sandwich shop at the lunching hour. It was busy, but not crowded and the decor was Starbucks, but not manufactured (i.e. authentic). We started with espressos. A double Dante Inferno (steamed milk, chocolate, raspberry, pepper) for me and a double Odissea (steamed milk, caramel, almond & amaretto) for Ethan. If I wanted to, I could end this review right there. The coffee alone was worth our trip, time and coin. It was on par with the best I’ve had in Richmond (Kuba Kuba) and anything I had in Rome and Venice.
There is more to tell though. Not only was the coffee out of this world. The paninis that followed were of equal quality. Toasty, fresh focaccia, flanking tasty meats, cheeses and veggies. Ethan had the Mortadella (Italian bologna, provolone and mix salad) and devoured it. I had the Vitello Tonne (roast beef, tonne’ spread, and fresh mozzarella) and did much the same. The surprise for me was the tonne’ spread or “tuna spread” as I later wikied. An interesting pairing, I never would have imagined could be good. It wasn’t, it was great.
Post lunch we were enjoying our visit enough to get to-go coffees. A simple espresso for me and a Dante Inferno for Ethan, after hearing me rave about it. The icing on this review cake. When Ethan threw in a bag a coffee with the bill, the owner gave us each a coupon for free treats upon our return and an espresso candy for the road. There in crowning Caffespresso as one of my favorite West End eateries. We will be back for date nights with our respective wives and maybe even for a night of cooking lessons.