Apollo Cafe (Closed)

17 Aug 2011
Average Cost ($8-$14)
Jones Valley/Hampton Cove
4 out of 5
The Apollo Cafe

Melanie’s Take

Apollo Cafe had been on our “to try” list for a while now, so we headed on over the mountain to Hampton Cove to give it a whirl. I don’t know why my mind automatically went to the Apollo theatre rather than the obvious Huntsville/NASA connection to the Apollo, but it did. Once we entered, I was reminded that the latter Apollo was the one this place was named after. There were tastefully framed photos of the Apollo mission on the walls, but it was otherwise a traditionally decorated cafe with beadboard, tables, a few booths, and a warm color palette.
Southern BLT
After perusing the Sunday brunch menu, I decided to order the Southern BLT, which was described as a bacon, fried green tomato, and buffalo mozzarella sandwich topped with mixed greens and basil mayo on a ciabatta bun. It was served with your choice of a potato side, from which I chose the potato salad. My sandwich and potato salad were good, but I felt that every bite I tried lacked a bit of seasoning. The basil mayo needed to be replaced with something like a horseradish mayo that would’ve provided a little more punch. The potato salad was delicious, but it could’ve also used a kick more of black pepper or some more tanginess from lemon juice. Despite my desire for these tweaks, I definitely appreciated Apollo’s approach to making traditional southern dishes in a creative way.
Bread Pudding
For dessert, we tried the bread pudding, and it was to die for. In my experience, bread pudding is a dividing line that can either be out of this world (a la Watercress), or it can be the cafeteria lunch line variety. Apollo’s own staff pastry chef placed himself firmly on the right side of the line with this dessert. It was warm and gooey, with just the right amount of caramel, not rum, sauce drizzled on top. The only thing that could’ve made it better would’ve been a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Overall, we really enjoyed Apollo Cafe, and I imagine we’ll be back.

Shane’s Take

Continuing the sandwich theme, I chose the Monte Cristo, a favorite among artery-clogging sandwich eaters. For those unfamiliar with Monte Cristo sandwiches, think “ham and cheese donut”. Typically, it’s a battered and deep-fried sandwich stuffed with ham and turkey and a healthy dose of cheese. Once pulled out of the fryer, it’s sprinkled with powdered sugar and then served hot with some sort of fruity dip or jelly. Before Apollo, I’d eaten them at a Bennigan’s, a Cheddar’s Casual Cafe, and even at home. Despite each bite costing me a month of life, I always enjoyed them. The Apollo variant of the Monte Cristo was no different. Sporting an awfully generous helping of meat and a healthy layer of gouda between two pieces of Arnold-quality wheat bread, it was a large and delicious sandwich. The batter was uneven, but it was authentic (in other words, not previously frozen), and it tasted good. A warm compote of dried cranberries was offered as a dip; it was unusual and not as tasty as I’d hoped, but I enjoyed it. All that being said, I was impressed with the Monte Cristo. It tasted great, and the gouda, wholegrain bread, and craisin dip were interesting unique touches.
Monte Cristo
As Melanie said, we chose bread pudding as a dessert. Having eaten a variety of them lately, I feel confident saying all bread puddings are different, but most of them are pretty good in their own way. And that’s where I’d put Apollo’s bread pudding: a little different but still tasty. The bready, puddingy texture was great. The sauce drizzled over it was missing something (a touch of cinnamon, maybe?), but I still liked it. The topping of walnuts—not something I’ve had on a bread pudding before—were an awesome crunchy compliment to the soft pudding. On the whole, I really enjoyed the bread pudding. I just wished there was more!
Inside Apollo Cafe
Some of the newer restaurants in town have left us wanting more. More than once, I’ve walked out saying “We’ll never go back there”. With it’s cool name and elaborate calligraphic logo (see their website), I was hopeful that Apollo wouldn’t let us down, and it didn’t. The food was great, the atmosphere pleasant, and the service excellent. Of course, I could always ask for more, but Apollo is doing well. I look forward to returning for dinner or breakfast sometime soon. Final Thoughts
  • Despite looking fun, the C-shaped booth we sat in wasn’t: All of us felt like we were on display. Dipping and eating a cheesy Monte Cristo may be amusing, but it’s not the sort of thing I’d force anybody to watch.
  • They really should put some ceiling fans in Apollo. Other than helping with the temperature, it would boost the southern ambience, I think, in just the right way.
  • Taking your kids with you? Don’t miss the nook of pillows and trinkets offered for children.
The Apollo Cafe on Urbanspoon

One Response

  1. Phyllis Young Basham

    Sounds really delicious. Fried green tomato on a sandwich sounds interesting but good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *