A Race Street Northern Italian Bistro
Editor’s Note: (5/20/2012) Too bad. The Blackbread is closed and up for sale – someone is moving on from the restaurant business. Looking forward to something interesting here from whomever buys the property – this is a really great spot on Race Street!
It was only a year ago we returned from Italy, marveling at the simplicity and tastefulness of the food – whether it was from one of the ubiquitous neighborhood pizzerias, or someplace a bit fancier, tucked into a sidestreet.
That’s how we felt after an evening at the Blackbread Cafe, located on Race Street, in one of Jim Thorpe’s 1845 brick rowhouses. Actually, it’s two, stitched tastefully together. My brother and sister-in-law had just come in from Chicago, and the warm atmosphere felt perfect for a pre-Christmas dinner.
We started off appropriately enough with an Italian bruschetta of ripe summer tomatoes, fresh garden basil, and garlic. The four of us set upon that, and the night was on. It set us up perfectly for our delicious crabcakes appetizer, drizzled with a snappy, pleasing sauce. Smiles all around.
Then it was time for entrees, and here’s what we tried: Chicken Trieste, Salmon, Penne California, and an evening special – gnocchi with vodka sauce. It seemed like a nice sampling of what the chef could do, and he passed our very unofficial test with flying colors. The chicken – hearty, tasty, but not too much. The gnocchi – great texture, and with the complement of a little sauce, just excellent flavor. Same with the salmon and penne: delicious.
But the highlight was the tableside preparation of Bananas Foster. And it wasn’t just about the show: the sauce was just right, the slivered almonds a great touch, and the bananas not at all overcooked.
To top it all off, owner Mark Pawlitchek availed us of some complementary dessert wine – again not too sweet, and just an outstanding finish to an excellent meal. The Blackbread is understated and relaxed, much like its Northern Italian cousins.
Check it out – open Thursday through Sunday during winter.