Kerrytown's Loomi Cafe
by M.B. Lewis
From the September, 2019 issue
Customers often start to line up while the cooks are still doing prep at Kerrytown's Loomi Cafe. You could credit that to the prime location across from Monahan's Seafood Market, curiosity about a relatively new restaurant, or the fact that Loomi doesn't open until 11 a.m.--by which time people have had plenty of time to get hungry, especially on market days.
But get this: many customers already know what they want to order--despite a chalkboard menu that changes at least weekly, according to twenty-nine-year-old impresario and Pioneer grad Andrew Stevick.
There's usually a grilled lamb "sausage" in some form--often two generous, seasoned patties with fresh carrot shavings, cilantro sprigs, and a halved long yellow pepper. Instead of rice on the side, get the potatoes. Roasted until soft and then fried until golden crisp at the edge, they are really yummy with just a bit of that meat and veggie juice extending flavor.
Charred marinated eggplant topped with tahini swirls was another knockout, a symphony of complementary textures and tastes. Try to talk them into making the fattoush salad your side--the crisp al dente vegetables and vinegar dressing perfectly complete the olive-oiled eggplant.
A young family who live across the street orders the cheesy pocket for their preschooler. Judging from its Indian-spiced cauliflower spread and bit of jalapeno heat, he is an adventurous little eater, especially if he dips the toasted corners in the unsweetened lime yogurt it comes with. (The name Loomi comes from the preserved lime that flavors that dipping sauce and several other dishes; its citrus signature recurs across countries, and even continents, on the multiethnic menu.) The parents say they've liked everything they've tried. "This is our dining room several times a week," mom says.
So kudos for a millennial operation that's gone from food truck and pop-ups to a big, crowded restaurant in just a few months. With most offerings hovering close to ten bucks, there's good value along with the creativity and freshness.
The restaurants in the Kerrytown area have been good for a while, and they seem to just keep getting better.
Loomi Cafe, 404 N. Fifth Ave. (Kerrytown Market and Shops). (734) 929-2945. Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Fri.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
[Originally published in September, 2019.]
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