A few years ago late one evening, my friend Jenny and I stopped into Hayes Barton Cafe for dessert. It was my first time dining at Hayes Barton, but Jenny had been raving about their monstrous slices of cake. We sat at the bar, welcomed by a friendly server, and enjoyed bread (despite being there just for dessert) and amazing pieces of cake.
While gleefully pigging out on my piece of Bailey's tiramisu, the server placed an overflowing plate of steamed mussels in front of the patron next to me. Topped with herbs and swimming in a garlicky and creamy sauce, I immediately started to food lust.
At home I researched Hayes Barton for dinner but to my surprise, I found horror stories of a verbally abusive owner with a lackadaisical staff. Did I even eat at the same place, I wondered? How could the wonderful dessertery I just enjoyed be accused of being vicious to its patrons?
The image of glorious steamed mussels invaded my memories until I could no longer avoid Hayes Barton Cafe. At the cafe we arrived to smiling faces and a welcoming atmosphere. I guess you can't trust everything to read on the Internet... except for me of course.
|Buster's "Crabb Dip"|
Though the fear of being yelled at had subsided we experienced some misqueues in service that happened here and there but none that I would considered notorious. Things like a bit of a wait time to be seated when there were open tables, forgotten bread and a charge for a drink we never received. In the end all were forgivable and fixed without any incident.
Of course these minor lapses in service were easily forgivable with the food that Hayes Barton Cafe puts out. The food is big. Big flavors, big portions, as on display with our appetizer. Crab dip with homemade bagel chips-- if the plate were entirely bagel chips, I wouldn't even be mad. Fried in butter and sprinkled with parmesan cheese and herbs, it stole the show from a respectable crab dip. The dip was a bit heavy on the mayonnaise but the bagel chips make any dip taste good.
|Filet Over Mac & Cheese with Green Beans|
Sara order the filet over mac & cheese special. The mac & cheese was thick and bubbly with an incredible cheesiness. The mac & cheese was a perfect compliment to the tender filet.
|MGM Mussels - Marget's Great Mussels|
When the plate of mussels arrived at our table I wanted to weep for joy. The dish that has been stalking my mind for years was finally right in front of me, and it lived up to my expectations. The portion was huge and the flavors were loud. The unfortunate thing was that some mussels were closed but there were only a few.
Being completely stuffed didn't stop us from grabbing a couple pieces of cake to go. I decided to go with Hayes Barton Cafe's best selling chocolate cake. It was rich and decadent. Pieces of toffee gave a textural crunch. Sara decided to go with a blueberry lemon cake. The cake was a lemony delight but Sara was surprised by a cream cheese frosting that she did not enjoy. She still loved the cake as she ate around the cream cheese frosting.
Out there on the interwebs people have described Hayes Barton Cafe as rude, deplorable, or even terrible. But for me Hayes Barton Cafe is friendly, filling and most of all ambrosial.