Sunday, February 17, 2008

QUICKVIEW: Sedra Cafe- +++ / $$

On a recent trip to URI's emporioum, I was walking back to the car along the sidewalk and decided to stop staring at my shoelaces and become aware of my surroundings. Oh how I'm glad I did.I found a gem of a cafe just getting down to business. Sedra cafe has been open since September '07 and I can only assume it's giving Bagelz a little something to think about. It's a cafe/hookah lounge, so if you don't like the smell of flavored tobacco coming out of small, table-mounted chimneys, I'd recommend avoiding Sedra in the later hours. I have since confirmed that, yes, Sedra is exceptionally busy in the later hours, remaining bumping until 1,2, even 3:00am. For college students, I think this is great because it gives them a place to hang out that isn't some seedy bar where they get drunk, kidnapped, have all of their organs stolen, and get sold into slavery in Cambodia.

I've heard that happens.

But for the daytime crowd, Sedra is, just generally, one of the best places to while away an hour or two in the area. The inside is fantastically adorned, with cushions, pillows, and other Arabic-looking decor. They take the comfy, snuggle-up-with-a-book aesthetic to new heights for the usually more downmarket area. Deep, dark reds, golds, and browns, all wrapped up a believable Arabic motif create a cocoon of opulence that is truly unique for the South County area. This is one of the nicest restaurants to just sit in for quite a distance.

Coffee and espresso is very good, even though my cappuccino was more a latte. Regardless of nit-picking about milk, espresso, and foam ratios, Sedra is easily the best bet for URI students to get a cup of espresso. The cappuccinos I've had are leagues ahead of Bagelz and Brewed Awakenings. The milk was velvety and rich, the mixture was strong, and choice of roast was decent. I would have preferred it darker, truth be told. I would have also liked a wider selection of drink flavors, toppings, and sweetener. Nothing against ordinary sugar, but I like honey and turbinado sugar more. Also, and this is a big one, I would really like to see take-out. Sometimes I'm on the run, but I still want great espresso. All things considered, if you consider yourself an espresso connoisseur, this is your only choice.

The menu is achored by a nice selection of competitively priced sandwiches that would be exotic if not for ninety other places in the emporium also offering hummus. Desserts were affordable and of good quality and smoothies made with fresh fruit are very satisfying. As a place to sit and enjoy a well-made espresso, Sedra is the best option for those on or nearby URI. Unfortunately, as I said, they're not competing with Bagelz in the Morning Routine business, as they don't even offer drinks to go. Hopefully they'll start doing this soon. After that, they will be the best espresso in town.

Sedra Cafe: +++
Price range for two: $5-$10

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99 Fortin Rd
Kingston, RI 02881

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