Beyond the long tables and well-lit, clean and straightforward ambience, the cafe's rightful center of attraction was the 12-foot deli showcase that housed its culinary gems.
"Today, we have two different soups: lentil and vegetable," said chef and owner Kerri Marvel. "We have two kinds of pizza (on whole wheat crust) daily: pesto with sun-dried tomatoes, or red sauce with tomatoes and mozzarella. We have roasted herb potatoes, herb rice, pork tenderloin with homemade applesauce, Greek kabobs, coconut shrimp, crab cakes, meatloaf with mushroom, chicken parmesan with pasta, cannelloni, and two salad choices: smoked turkey with brown and wild rice, or (Marvel's signature dish) roasted butternut squash with pearl couscous, dried cranberries and toasted pecans."
True to form, Marvel's signature dish was far from ordinary; it was special. The pearl couscous rolled smoothly around the palate and brought the sweet cranberries and squash flavors together, drizzled with a delicate vinaigrette dressing with garlic undertones.
Marvel has studied at ACF-accredited culinary schools. Her extra efforts to provide the community with delicious, balanced, and portion-controlled food are apparent. Aside from being a Brentwood resident and local produce advocate, Marvel and her team of chefs prepare foods that are made daily from fresh and seasonal ingredients. "Everything is made from scratch," she said.
"Though we just opened the cafe, I have been in the catering business for five years, serving the cocktail and buffet niche of 80 to 100 people. I still offer catering and personal chef services. But it has been a dream for me to open the cafe," said Marvel, who attended culinary school at night and eventually left her corporate job in computer training to pursue cooking full time.
Gooseberry Fool's menu includes several different types of protein (chicken, turkey, beef, pork), several starches (rice, pasta and potatoes), several vegetables, green salads and compound salads. The cafe will offer daily desserts and weekend hors d'oeuvres. Most items will be sold by weight.
Desserts include house German chocolate cake, chocolate bourbon decadence torte with raspberry coulis, pumpkin pie, cream cheese frosted pumpkin cake bars, and apple lattice pie.
The cafe's complete Thanksgiving dinner menu serves 10 to 15 people for $149. Orders must be place by noon on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Meanwhile, when you are too tired to cook, tired of the ordinary take-out, and should you ever want to be comforted way beyond your stomach, be sure to drop by Gooseberry Fool's cafe and check out its lunch and dinner menu - for dine-in or take-out, in portions that suit you. Browse through the soon-to-open specialty grocery, which will carry gourmet condiments, olive oil, chocolate, spreads, jams and jellies and culinary items for the inner chef in you. Check out the Web site, www.gooseberryfool.net, for a menu to suit your catering needs for wine and dinner or in-home hosted cooking parties.
Gooseberry Fool is located at 622 First St. in Brentwood. The phone number is 240-6830.