Irregardless Cafe

Irregardless Cafe is a farm to table restaurant located at 901 W. Morgan St. in Raleigh.  They have a great location, just enough porch space for a few tables, plenty of windows and a comfortable amount of seating.  The menu is large, and the food is fresh. On top of that, if you sign up for their mailing list, they send you a coupon for a free bottle of house wine for your birthday.

Overall: 3.8 out of 5

Food/Beverage: 3.5

Ambiance: 3.5

Service: 5

Value: 3.5

Walking in, you are confronted by the lighting.  It’s a sea foam green strip lighting extravaganza. The walls are covered with beach style paintings that, while well done, make you feel like you are in a retirement home cafeteria somewhere near Tampa, Fl.  We were seated by the restrooms, on a night when there were barely any tables filled.  We passed several lovely tables near the front windows.  Had we been seated there, I most likely would have rated ambiance a little higher.

My free bottle of wine was very good! You have the choice of either ordering the house red (original price $17) which is a Cabernet Sauvignon or using the $17 as a credit towards another bottle.  I’m not a fan of Cabs, usually but this one was great! Smoky, spicy and not at all sweet and jammy.  I would certainly order it again.

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The food was good.  Not great.  Our first course, the calamari ($10), was presented beautifully!

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It is topped with black sesame seeds and what they call “fresh slaw” that was not much more than shredded cabbage.  The asian BBQ sauce was good, but would have been nicer on the side.  Tossing it first made some of the calamari mushy and unpleasant.  The breading was good, and the actual squid was cooked well.

My dinner companion ordered from the small plate menu for her dinner.  She got the Seafood Cakes ($12).

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Not a bad dish overall.  The cakes themselves were very poorly seasoned, the slaw was ok, and the sauce was GREAT! Without that sauce, the seafood cakes would have been a terrible combination of too much breading and not enough seasoning.

I ordered the warm goat cheese salad ($10) with salmon ($7).

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Even though it was a simple salad of walnuts, dried cranberries and one giant chunk of goat cheese, it worked.

The finishing touch to this meal was the Coconut cake ($8).  The waiter brought it out with a candle, for my birthday, and sang happy birthday.  Perfect!

Our waiter was the shining star of this meal.  He was attentive, had great descriptions of all food and wine choices, and he didn’t hover.  If it hadn’t been for his excellent service, the establishment wouldn’t have faired quite so well.

I would return, because there were so may things on the menu that sounded great and I really do want to support local restaurants that use local ingredients.  May be on another night, I could sit near the windows.  My dinner companion stated that the last time she ate there, she sat by the windows and it made the cafe seem quaint.

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