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Dining Review: Four Café's spring menu satisfies

Friendly and relaxed, with food worth lingering over.

April 13, 2013|By Rebecca Bryant, rebecca.bryant@latimes.com
  • Four Cafe patrons can sample a grilled mahi mahi burger with pickled red onions, cheddar cheese and tartar slaw and served on a brioche bun.
Four Cafe patrons can sample a grilled mahi mahi burger… (Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

Four Café in Eagle Rock feels a little like walking into a pal's kitchen. (OK, if your pal had a glass dessert case and a cash register right by the kitchen door.) The vibe is friendly and relaxed and the locavore food is worth lingering over.

The neighborhood eatery does put a sliver of space between its half-dozen or so inside tables, but it feels more like communal dining. This is not the place to have a private discussion. But the wall of reclaimed wood slats, the modern paintings, polished concrete floors and gorgeous blown-glass ceiling lamps put you in the mood to share your egg salad, if not all your secrets, with your neighbor. Or you could go sit at one of the tables on the sidewalk outside.

It's nearly impossible to imagine that this space used to house a Coldwell Banker branch before chef Michelle Wilton and her husband and co-owner, artist Corey Wilton, transformed the space. Michelle Wilton has worked at Patina, L'Orangerie and Sona and her sensibilities shine in this neighborhood joint.

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Soups here are soul-satisfying, whether hearty or light. The carrot-ginger soup is a gorgeous color hiding the flush-inducing bite of the ginger. It's made more complex with chili butter, and the bits of softened, chopped cashews floating in the orange smoothness add a nice textural twist. The red lentil soup, a vegetarian option, has its own carrot flourish along with the mild warmth of tandoori spicing and a cilantro yogurt swirl.

Four Cafe, which frequents local farmers' markets for its ingredients, offers several side salads. The fruit salad (though a friend argued that pieces of fruit do not a salad make) on one visit included blackberries, pomegranate seeds and sweet orange sections.

The couscous salad mixes Israeli couscous with kalamata olives, mint, cucumber, yellow cherry tomatoes and tiny crumbles, feta cheese and, in a nice surprise, black-eyed peas. The much-underused little peas add an earthy taste and almost meaty texture to the grain salad. The potato salad tastes like spring, with sliced sugar snap peas, radishes, white and purple fingerling potatoes (for some reason, on one visit the purple tubers seemed a little mushy) and pickled green onions, tossed in a nicely grainy mustard vinaigrette.

What: Four Café

Where: 2122 1/2 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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