Food Tour of Iowa: Restaurant Review: Linn Street Café
On my way to Kalona Organics dairy, I decided to stop somewhere in Iowa City for lunch. It would only take me about 15 minutes out of my way, and I have a list of restaurants to try in Iowa City as long as my arm. After canvassing friends and checking menus online to find the best lunch spot, I settled on the Linn Street café. It was an excellent choice.
The trendy north side neighborhood of Iowa City, which is chock full of restaurants (including past fave Devotay), is within walking distance of the University of Iowa campus; this gives it a great youthful feel. Linn Street was located just a few doors down from Devotay.
When I first walked in, I felt a bit out of place; in my sweatshirt and sturdy boots (for my subsequent visit to Kalona and the dairy there) I felt a bit under dressed. However, the menu was more in keeping with my outfit: most of the entrees were pleasantly located in the 8-12 dollar range. After some inner wrangling, I opted for the slow cooked BBQ pork sandwich, with sweet potato coleslaw and a side of beet salad. They were all great choices.
The sandwich was served on a crunchy ciabatta roll that had the virtue of not being too bready- it was mostly a delicious crispy crust that complemented the juicier pork. The pork was perfectly tender and very flavorful, and tempered by the vinegary coleslaw which topped the sandwich. Also, it wasn’t too big; the sandwich was a pleasant size that didn’t leave me feeling stuffed, even with the salad on the side. I was very pleased with it.
The roasted beet salad was excellent as well; a mix of local greens topped with goat cheese and roasted beets. I was initially put off when I thought that the waitress had disregarded my request for dressing on the side, but upon closer examination it was just the juice from the roasted beets coating the greens; the dressing was indeed on the side. The salad was perfect without the dressing anyway, with the beet juice substituting more effectively. My only complaint was that the beets weren’t strong enough; they lacked enough “beety” flavor. However, the salad was still very good, and a great pairing to the heavier sandwich.
I was very pleased with the Linn Street café. The service and ambiance were great, and the food was correctly priced and quite good. I recommend it for anyone who wants a nicer lunch that wont break the bank.