Venue Review: Mimi's Café
The Charlotte Observer
Mimi's Café wants diners to come in and "connect" with each other over the restaurant's food.
There definitely is a lot of food to connect over. The menu is divided into more than a dozen categories. Variety is nice, but when a restaurant tries to be everything to everyone, there's always the risk some things on the menu won't be handled as well as others.
Such was the case on our visit. But I did like the comfortable atmosphere at Mimi's. Probably my only twinge of discomfort came when the check arrived.
Mimi's (located across the road from Northlake Mall) is a chain operating in 24 states. But the restaurant has some French leanings. As the story goes, the founder of Mimi's named the place after a woman he met in Europe during World War II.
Great story, but the service could have been better. On the Saturday afternoon we popped in for lunch, we were seated a good five minutes before anyone acknowledged us. Our meal suffered from stretches of time where we were without food and beverages.
Fortunately, while we were waiting for the appetizer, a handsome basket of carrot raisin bread and butter came to the table. Moist and reminiscent of cake, the bread was a nice departure from the typical basket of rolls.
Inside the crab fritter appetizer was a flavor balanced, creamy blend of spinach, mushrooms and artichokes. I would have liked a lighter, less crunchy exterior. The outside was like a hush puppy.
The bacon "mac and cheese" should be a category all its own. Penne and pieces of smoked bacon wore a rich Asiago cheese sauce and all sported a delicate coating of parmesan bread crumbs. Turns out the mac and cheese was placed in the "Just enough" section of the menu. The portion filled me up without making me feel heavy.
There is a sizable seafood presence throughout Mimi's menu, so you'd think this would be an area in which the kitchen excelled. But the scallop (and there was only one in the entire dish) and the shrimp in the petite Mediterranean seafood fettuccini were overcooked. And given the "petite" portion size, I would have liked to have seen the entrée priced slightly less than $10.49.
After tax and tip, our meal for two came to $32.92, which was a little more than I was happy paying given the food and service lapses. But if Mimi's can work on those, I'd be agreeable to trying to "reconnect" with it.