Chef Larry's- Titusville-5-Stars
"Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can't be faked." -- P. Grubber
When the city of Titusville pops up on my BBDO random nosher generator, I can't help but get this sinking feeling in my innards. I have said this before, and while I find the people in Titusville like those elsewhere (some are cool, some are not), the local food scene leaves much to be desired. As such, it doesn't take an avid imagination to ponder what I was feeling when the name Chef Larry's popped up on said device. Just off of US1 and a bit south of downtown Titusville is where you will find Chef Larry's Cafe nestled in a quaint refurbished salmon colored home stuck between a medical marijuana dispensary and an antique store.
After being seated and perusing the menu I had an opportunity to take in my surroundings as there was nary a server in sight. This was a teeny, tiny place, obviously a remodeled boutique that was done up nicely. There was a "store" where one could buy Chef Larry's famous spice concoction as well as other nick-knacks and a rather eclectic display of wall decorations. As such, the place gave off a very friendly vibe. 14 minutes after being seated, yes I timed it, I was approached by my server who turned out to be none other than Chef Larry himself. Needless to say, he presented the menu with knowledge and flair, assuring me everything was fresh and made to order. I asked Chef Larry for a Smoked Chicken with a Remoulade sauce sandwich with a bowl of the soup de jour (in this case it was chicken noodle) and a Chef Larry's Caesar Salad.
In what seemed like less time than it took for Chef Larry to come out and take my order, my food was placed before me and I was taken in by the smells emanating forth while my eyes were drawn to the strangest looking "Caesar" salad I have yet to see. I have seen pre-fabricated salad kit ones, I have seen cheap ones, but this was the first one I ever saw sans anchovies. I always thought the whole point of a Caesar salad (other than the lettuce and required garlic croutons) was the fact that the dressing and salad contained anchovies.
Beginning with a taste of the soup de jour, Chef Larry's homemade Chicken Noodle, I fell in love immediately as it had tasty tiny chunks of meat candy, otherwise known as bacon, floating in it. The noodles had the look, texture and taste of being homemade and the broth itself was deep, rich and complex in flavor. Add the huge chunks of freshly cut chicken to the mix and I was in soup paradise. This is a really good soup.
Turning to the salad paired with the aforementioned soup, Chef Larry's Caesar Salad, I dug in with skeptical anticipation after the experience of the taste brigade still marching on my palate from the soup.
While I would not classify this as a Caesar salad as it lacked both anchovies and croutons and had orange slices on the plate along with a side of slaw, it was creamy, garlicky and extremely fresh. The side of slaw had deep, complex citrus notes and was a pure delight to the palate. Maybe rename this Chef Larry's Rome Inspired Salad, but please, keep serving it!
Moving to the sandwich, I noticed it came with a side of homemade mashed potatoes and a house salad. As all sandwiches are inherently dependent on the bookends encasing it, I shall begin with the bun upon which it is served. This is, without a doubt, some of the freshest, tasty sandwich bread I have yet had. It was obviously made in house and had an amazingly crunchy crust with a springy, moist, still warm from the oven inside that was, frankly, worth the 5-star rating alone. The smoked chicken was tender, juicy and bursting with flavor and I am happy to say that Chef Larry's Remoulade sauce is the real deal and is an authentic representation of this classic French staple. I found the house salad to be just as fresh and scrumptious as the other items and the house dressing on top had a delightful citrus pop.
Chef Larry and his wife Gwen have a lifetime of experience in the hospitality/food service industry and it shines through in every item that comes out of the kitchen. Only open for a few hours for lunch Tuesday-Friday and a few hours for dinner Friday and Saturday night, not only helps keep operating costs down (I am sure), but ensures the highest quality and freshest ingredients available. I have a feeling that Chef Larry wouldn't have it any other way.
The Big Boy says, "Stop what you are doing and call Chef Larry's Cafe for reservations immediately. This is the real deal for fine dining in Titusville and Chef Larry is the man!"