Cafe Dada opened yesterday at 11:30 AM on the corner of Seventh and Lincoln in the space last occupied by Ozzie's, and it already feels like a neighborhood institution. The dark woods, ancient furnishings, and Edison bulbs give it a lived-in feel, and the concept is so fully fleshed-out that I'd have guessed it's been around for years if I didn't know otherwise.
Owners Murat Ozcan (of Couleur Cafe) and Gabor Ferencz have spent the past six months transforming the space from one that was so dirty that even Starbuck's didn't want to touch it into a gleaming, old-world style coffee house. They retained as much of the old pharmacy's woodwork as possible (but had to replace some of it because of mold and toxicity fears), and matched the design to complement the old wood.
"Our goal is to recreate the gathering places of turn-of-the-century Budapest and 1920s Paris," said Ozcan. "When the Dada movement was in full swing, the coffee houses were the hubs of social activity. The artists, the writers, this was where they got together."
That desire to reach out to creative types extends to the front windows, which will soon become display cases for local art. If you're looking to camp out with a laptop you might want to look elsewhere, though, as the goal is to get patrons talking to each other instead of staring at screens.
Coffee is from Blue Bottle and Brooklyn Roasting, and Chef Carl Alioto (of Dans Le Noir and the Flatiron Hotel) has worked with the owners to create a menu with some real depth. There's a wide assortment of pastries and baked goods (try the homemade streudel), breakfast items, crepes, sandwiches, salads, and old-world favorites like Chicken Paprikash, Croque Monsieur, and quiche (click here for the menu, which will soon be expanded and include wine and beer). The French Onion Soup (top) pairs onions that have been braised for two hours with country bread and a slab of melted Gruyere, and can compete with the city's best. Several of the dishes include Hungarian pick salami, below, a smoky, fatty blend that melts in your mouth and is tough to find in the city.
On Seventh Avenue in the North Slope, there's no shortage of spectacular coffee and coffee shops. Cafe Dada stands out from the pack thanks to its stellar food, unbeatable ambiance, friendly staff, and commitment to supporting the arts.
Cafe Dada, 57 Seventh Avenue Brooklyn NY 11217. Phone: 718-622-2800. Open Daily from 7-11.