When one thinks of grabbing a quick lunch during the work week, words like whimsical, sumptuous and refreshing don’t tend to come to mind; however, that’s all changed after having lunch at La Tee Da late last week. La Tee Da has been offering lunch service since just after Thanksgiving, yet with the craziness of the holiday season, I unfortunately became stuck in my usual routine of quick reliable bites – it can be hard to explore new lunch spots when you’re in a rush. In the end, to take a welcome respite from a hectic day, settling in among their signature red walls and partaking in their relaxed yet verdant offerings, is a delight that needs to be experienced.
When it comes to lunch spots, I usually opt to try a soup selection when offered. Therefore, deciding to begin with the soup of the day was a very auspicious start to our lunch. When the luscious white bean soup arrived, one sip proved to be refreshingly clean to the palate. All too often bean soups can tend to be muddy, and this was certainly not the case here. The chef used optimal restraint when seasoning and also enriching the dish with just the right touch of cream ensuring a velvety and rich texture.
As for the main lunch offerings; as to be expected, the menu mainly consisted of salads and sandwiches. The salads were some of the favorites that we’ve come to know and love from the dinner menu at La Tee Da, including a Poached Pear with walnuts, dried cranberries and gorgonzola, as well as their bright House salad featuring crisp greens, the freshest vegetables and finished with a robust lemon vinaigrette. Also rounding out the leafy offerings are a Cobb, Caesar, and Eden salad which includes artichoke hearts, palm dates, and preserved lemon.
Incredibly, some of the sandwiches have already gained something close to a cult status in Allentown, especially the Bacon Infused BBQ Meatloaf; served with caramelized onions and melted provolone on a ciabatta roll – many are singing its praises. The Chicken Salad with walnuts, red onion, and celery is elevated with the perfect sprinkling of tarragon throughout, and would be a perfect staple to anyone’s lunch routine. The BBQ Tofu sandwich with sauteed spinach, caramelized onions, melted provolone, and pickles was a unique and light, yet extremely satisfying mid-day meal (I suggest taking the side of pickles and adding them right to the sandwich). The tofu was cooked to perfection, the BBQ sauce hit all of the right notes, and the sauteed vegetable “topping” made the sandwich stand out and pop, whereas the chef could have simply finished things off with an all too ubiqutious aioli, and not left us with that nourishing dose of spinach.
Now, all of this food fanfare is simply practice for what comes next, according to owner Sherry Tomaselli Nugent. “The current lunch service is leading up to what will eventually be the perfect way to spend a spring and summer afternoon, out back on the lush, full service patio (see here).”
I, for one, can’t wait for spring to try out all of the new lunch offerings under the big top canopy surrounded by such beautiful gardens. In the meantime, the interior of La Tee Da is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in the city, and provides a warm respite in the middle of winter. Combined with incredible lunchtime fare, this an Allentown establishment that beckons us all to slow down and simply enjoy!
La Tee Da Café – Facebook
206 Allen Street
Buffalo, NY 14201
Open for lunch Wed-Sat 11-2, and dinner Wed-Sat 5-11