Just got back from the grand opening celebration at Cafe Romeo on Orange & Pearl Sts. (They're serving free food until 3 today, worth a stop.) I've been walking past this place for a while since I live about a block away and curious to see how it wold turn out. The verdict, based on today's lunch: quite good, actually. Of the free offerings set out today I tried a turkey & bacon sandwich on focaccia, an eggplant sandwich, pasta bolognese, oricchette with pesto, and cheese tortellini with tomatoes, roasted eggplant, and roasted zucchini. (Don't worry, it was all sample sizes - I'm not *that* hungry.) My favorite was the bolognese - warm and hearty, with visible pieces of carrot in it (a plus for me since my host mother when I studied in Tuscany always put carrots in hers), perfect for a cold rainy day like today. The turkey sandwich stood out too because of the cranberry mayo - slightly sweet, nicely balanced with the bacon. My only complaint was that the pasta salads were cold cold, not room-temp cold, but serving outside in 40-degree weather you can't really blame them for that. I didn't get any, but they also serve pizzas, bagels, coffee, gelato, and some baked goods (I'm told there's some vegan baked goods available, if that's your thing). I picked up a menu and it all looks reasonably-priced (though I do wish they wouldn't put roasted red peppers into so many dishes - I hate red peppers!) Decor is kind of packaged-looking, but it's a cafe, not fine dining, so whatever. Especially given their location, I expect I'll be stopping by here often for a quick breakfast or lunch. I'd be interested to hear what other people who go by have to say too.
534 Orange St, New Haven, CT 06511