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First Look: Café Presse


Café Presse opened about a minute ago and although I normally try to give places a little time before checking them out it just worked out that today was a good day to stop in for brunch.  Well, at least it started to be a good day to check it out – that was until I left at about noon, needed to get down to the waterfront and then realized that 4th Avenue was shut all the way through the city for the Gay Pride Parade!  Frustrating!  Although I did finally get where I was going about 45 minutes later than planned!
Okay, but back to Café Presse.  R and I met there at 11:00 to check it out.  Café Presse is owned by the same folks who own Le Pichet.  If you’ve been to Le Pichet when you look at this menu it will feel very familiar.  Not the same exactly, there are a few dishes that appear on both menus, but it’s mostly just the French café feel that comes across on both menus.  
The layout of the front room is also very similar with a dozen or so seats at the bar which is separated from the tables by a metal divider to satisfy the Liquor Board people. The front room faces East and was very pleasant with the sun drifting in this morning.  Café Presse also has a nice backroom, suitable for larger groups, and I think it would be very cozy in the evening hours.  
It’s a little early to tell but it could be that the service will be similar, too.  As I’ve mentioned before I always find the servers at Le Pichet to be just a bit distracted.  They don’t seem to really be able to focus on any one table or request for too long.  I never eat there if I’m in a hurry as I’ve just learned that you need to relax and go with the flow.  I like the place a lot so it’s just the trade-off I’ve come to expect.  Anyway, Café Presse was not too busy this morning but I have the feeling that if they get jammed, as Le Pichet often does, then the same thing will happen here – very nice people will greet you and then sort of forget about you for a little while and that cycle will be repeated a few times during your meal.  
After ordering beverages – tea for me and a latte for R – we settled in to wait for our meals which arrived fairly quickly.  R had gone with Oeufs plats (which is also on the Le Pichet menu) and was just as good here as there.  I tried something new, Croque Campagnnarde, an open sandwich with hard sausage, Gruyère and tomatoes.  Although it didn’t really look quite as I’d imagined it was very good.  For me, the ingredient that really made it was the thin layer of mustard. 
Café Presse is named as it is as they carry a selection of international newspapers and several handsome, artsy magazines.  In fact, they apparently can print newspapers to order!  We did not test this offering but have no reason to believe they could not do as they say. 
This is another nice addition to 12th Avenue, which is fast becoming one of my favorite places for interesting little places. 
Café Presse
1117 12th Avenue
Capitol Hill

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