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Nite on the Town Restaurant Discount Card, image and link

The Nite On The Town Card is an exclusive membership card that enables the holder to dine at a dizzying variety of the San Gabriel Valley's most popular restaurants at a discounted price.

Simply include your card when paying your check. If you are a party of two, one of your entrees (equal or lower priced) will be free or substantially reduced in price. If there are four or more in your party, two of your entrees will be free or reduced in price and you can visit each restaurant up to three times during 2011 and get a great discount each time

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Beckham Grill, La Fiesta Grande, El Portal, Stoney Point, Radhika, Firefly Bistro, Cafe Mundial, Central Park, Matt Denny's, 1810, Cha Da Thai, Dish, Italian Kitchen, Bella Sera and dozens more. 

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Restaurant Reviews  Click on photos (except logo) to see them full-size

You can also find our Dot Com Dining columns weekly in the San Gabriel Valley Weekly (print media), Mountain Views Newspaper (print media and online), and SierraMadreNews.Net (online)

View the Cafe 322 menu

Restaurant: Café 322

Where: 322 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.

Phone: (626) 836-5414

Reservations: Parties of 8+

Cocktails: Yes

Service: Tableside wait service

Atmosphere: Casual

Outdoor Dining: Yes

Credit Cards: MC, Visa, American Express, Discover, Debit w/logo

Kid’s Menu: No, but ½ orders available for kids

Senior Discount: Yes

Food to Go: Yes

Catering Menu: No, Banquets available, though

Price Range: $3.75 – $11.95

Co-owner Mario Lalli, Jr. cuts the ribbon at the opening ribbon cutting ceremony

Fried Mozzarella

Caesar Salad

Minestrone Soup

Braised Lamb Shank

Linguini and meatball

Pan Seared Scallops

Lemon Granita

Spumoni

Tiramisu

DOT COM DINING A Look At San Gabriel Valley Restaurants by SanGabrielValleyMenus.com

                                    

Café 322 A Great Addition to Sierra Madre Dining Scene

 

By Bill Coburn

 

Café 322 in Sierra Madre opened recently, and is carrying on the long family tradition of providing delicious Italian food accompanied by quality live entertainment Wednesday thru Saturday evenings.

 

I stopped by recently with the family, and we started our evening with an order of Mozzarella Marinara.  Unlike most places that give you (often frozen) mozzarella sticks, Café 322 serves “mounds” (for lack of a better word) of fresh mozzarella, breaded and fried, topped with marinara and parmesan.  It was really good, possibly the best I’ve had. 

 

For entrees, Katie ordered the Braised Lamb Shank and a Caesar Salad, I ordered the Pan Seared Scallops and a cup of Minestrone 322, and Keelan had a ½ order of the Rigatone di Polpetti, which is rigatoni pasta served with meatballs and a tomato sauce.  However, he requested to substitute linguini for the rigatoni, and our waitress, Valerie, was kind enough to grant his request.  Coincidentally, it turned out that Valerie and I had worked together at another restaurant not long ago.

 

Katie and I both enjoyed our starters.  When I first got my soup, I thought it looked overly brothy, but as I started eating it, I realized it was because all of the vegetables were finely chopped, instead of the chunks found in most minestrones.  There were plenty of veggies, it tasted great, and seniors or people with dental issues will probably enjoy the non-chunkiness.  Katie said the Caesar was really good, and she liked that it was more like a “real” Caesar dressing, and not a “creamy” Caesar which is served in so many places.

 

Katie would never ordinarily order the lamb shank described on the menu as Slow braised to fall off the bone with a reduction of rendered juices, but Valerie recommended it, and Katie was very glad she did.  The meat was indeed falling off the bone, delicious, and the sauce was just right, almost a little sweet, she said.  I found the scallops (Jumbo scallops seared and served with a balsamic reduction) to be quite good, as well, cooked just right (frequently I find them to be undercooked, but not at Café 322), and they (like the Braised Lamb Shank) were served with garlic mashed potatoes that were as good as any I’ve ever had, and sauteed vegetables.  I’ve had larger orders of scallops, but paid significantly more to get it, even though they weren’t as good.  And with the mozzarella we’d split, and the cup of soup I’d ordered, I didn’t need a larger portion.  I was very satisfied.  Keelan was served a half order, which looked more like a full order, and was more than enough food for him, and the meatball was quite large and delicious.

 

For dessert, Keelan ordered spumoni, Katie had tiramisu, and I had lemon granita, which was a lemon sorbet with a strawberry sauce.  All three of us were really happy with our selections, and Keelan pointed out that the spumoni was heavier than you get at the chain stores, which must puff them up with air.

 

The following night, I stopped by for the Café 322 ribbon cutting ceremony, and afterwards, they provided pizza for the participants.  I tried the Grilled Chicken Pesto  pizza - Grilled breast of chicken, pesto, mozzarella cheese and parmesan béchamel – and it was so good I ended up eating several slices.  Fortunately, they’d put plenty out.  On an earlier visit, I had ordered the Roast Pork Loin Sandwich - Slow roasted pork sliced thin and served on an Italian roll with red onion, Roma tomato and garlic mayo – sans tomatoes - and it, too, was delicious.  Lots of tender pork, and no skimping on the garlic.

 

In addition to good food, Café 322 features live blues, jazz and opera in the evening.  The night we stopped by there was a jazz quartet playing, and while I didn’t get there name, this was a group of veteran professionals, very tight.  It would be easy to overpower the dining room in this venue, but the volume was kept at a level that allowed people to continue enjoying their meals and their conversations.  Don’t get me wrong, there was no doubt an emphasis on the music, but you weren’t blown out by it.

 

In August, some of the musicians scheduled to perform are Kristin Korb with John Mayer, on the 19th and 20th, The California Navels on Aug. 24th, followed by The Downbeats on Thursday the 25th.  Jon Mayer will be back, but with Roy McCurdy and Ricky Woodard on the 26th and 27th.

 

Café 322 also gives back to the community.  A couple weeks ago, they had a fundraiser for the PUSD GATE summer camp’s performance, featuring performances by members of the cast, and on Sunday, Sept. 18th, they will host “A Night at the Opera,” a fundraiser for the PUSD All Star Band which will be performing in the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2nd, 2006.  Among the performers that evening will be David Miller, who directs the All Star Band, as well as being the musical director at PHS.  Café 322 will donate 20% of the evening’s proceeds to the All Star Band, and you are encouraged to call Café 322 to make table reservations if you want to make sure you get a seat.

 

You can find Café 322’s menu at the San Gabriel Valley Menus website, or go directly to www.cafe322.com

 

Bill Coburn is owner of SanGabrielValleyMenus.com, a restaurant website featuring more than 150 restaurant menus, as well as downloadable coupons.  He has nearly 20 years experience in the restaurant business, and has been eating for much longer than that.

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