Does the Salt City have a cafe scene? I dare say it does. This post is part of a series on my adventures into Cafe Society--Syracuse style.
Apparently, I need to take more breaks for formal tea. I mean, a cup of Jamine tea to start the day and a cup of Lapsong Souchang to end it are fine but there's nothing like sitting down to the whole deal with scones, cucumber finger sandwiches and chocolate covered strawberries. The White Dove Tea Room is a place I've visited before but today I thought, "I've really got to make this a habit."
The White Dove is located in Syracuse's Little Italy on North Salina Street. It is a small and intimate tea room--the best kind, really--just about 24 seats. The owner, Suzanne, breezes around the room and greets folks like their family. I got the sense that this place is about more than the tea--its about community, great food and lots of love.
Our tea today was not quite a formal tea--which is the full linen, silver, and more food than you can imagine. We just had the more food deal. Working from the bottom up our feast included open face cucumber finger sandwiches, open face egg salad on wheat bread--was that a smoky Spanish paprika that gave it a little kick? Light as air scones, still warm from the oven, were served with raspberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream. Grapes and chocolate-covered strawberries donned the top tier and then there was still a dessert plate! Let's just say goodie bags were taken home.
Ah, but this is a tea room so let's talk tea, shall we? Actually, there isn't much to say, I had a very nice Palm Court tea--a black leaf tea that took well to cream and sugar. One of the nice touches about White Dove is that instead of leaving the pot on the table to over steep and, perhaps, grow cold, a server very attentively took to refreshing our cups with hot, fresh tea before our cups ever emptied. Need another reason to love them? They pour Harney and Sons tea!
At $20.00 per person for the Formal tea this is certainly an indulgence but a worthy one. In fact, I simply made this my main meal of the day--eating a good late breakfast and a light, late dinner. After eating all those wonderful treats I didn't even look at the dessert display--can you believe it? The point is, there is no need to wait for a Formal tea to go to White Dove. You can go for a cup of tea and a slice of cake and enjoy the good vibes. But if you are really hungry....
Then you've got to check out their new monthly seven-course dinners. Once a month they take reservations for a set menu that features local ingredients and inspired cooking. The June dinner features Flowered Prawn bathed in Miso, Roasted Pork Chop with Cornmeal Pancakes and Granny Smith Apple Butter, Whipped Brie and Slow Roasted Red and Yellow Beets, and Port Poached Pear Salad. The bad news: The June 7 dinner is sold out. The Good news: if you call White Dove and get on their email list they will email you the menu of the next dinner and you can reserve your spot early. This feast costs $70 per person and is bring you own wine--a great chance to do your own pairings and drink what you really want.
So whether you want a nice afternoon of tea and scones or an evening of fine dining the White Dove Tea Room is the place to be.
The White Dove Tea Room, 745 North Salina Street, Syracuse, NY 13208, 315-474-1126. www.thewhitedovetearoom.com