Amber Road Café
635 Washington Street; Canton
Closed Mondays; Tuesday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Amber Road Café gets its name not from its location, which is on Washington Street in Canton, but from an amber stone that served as a sort of good luck charm that helped Kristina Mikelenas find her way when she left Lithuania for the United States.
Amber is the national gem of Lithuania, and Mikelenas explained that it’s not uncommon for women in that country to own amber jewelry. Mikelenas opened the cafe, a small breakfast and lunch spot where her daughter works, in August 2009.
In order to get inside, customers have to pass by (or wait in line outside) a hair salon, so the location initially seems odd. But the inside of the café is warm and welcoming, with beige walls featuring inspirational sayings. The dining room is clean and cozy.
Breakfast offerings run the gamut from eggs to pancakes. The butter, sugar, and cinnamon crepes ($6) are noticeably buttery, lightly sweetened, and completely mouthwatering with a heavy dose of cinnamon. Blintzes ($7.25) feature a light crepe wrapper filled with a creamy cheese mixture and served with tangy-sweet homemade raspberry jam.
Bridging the gap between savory and sweet is Kristina’s French toast ($9.25): Brie-stuffed French toast topped with an apple-cranberry-walnut chutney. The chutney’s flavor is reminiscent of fall spices and cranberry relish. The French toast is thick, well browned, and not at all soggy. A bite reveals the melted Brie within.
The Amber Road breakfast ($7.65) is sure to please the diner who seeks the traditional combination of eggs, toast, and breakfast meat. Eggs can be ordered any style and come with bacon, sausage, or ham and toast and home fries. Scrambled eggs arrived hot and fluffy, bacon crisp, and home fries well-seasoned and cooked through.
Filled with diced Roma tomatoes, baby spinach, smoked bacon, and American cheese, the Amber omelet ($10) is sensational. The omelet is cooked just right — neither dry nor wet — and the filling is plentiful.
But the real success is that unlike in many vegetable-laden omelets, the tomatoes aren’t leaking juice and soaking the egg, and the bacon, though tucked inside, retains its crisp texture.
Fresh smoothies and an assortment of eggs Benedict options including roasted vegetable or smoked salmon and cream cheese Benedict sound interesting. Lighter fare — such as a yogurt parfait, fresh fruit plate, or a single pancake — is available as well.
Amber Road Café also serves lunch, though a quick glance around the room suggests breakfast is more popular on weekends, even after noon.
Lunch options range from salads to panini, wraps to hot sandwiches. The chicken Caesar wrap ($9) is very basic but good, with moist chunks of chicken and fresh romaine, just what you’d expect.
The crispy eggplant and feta salad ($10) showcases piping hot, lightly fried eggplant slices with crunchy exteriors and soft middles on a bed of roasted multicolored peppers. The eggplant and peppers rest over chopped romaine, tomato wedges, olives, cucumber slices, and shredded carrots, all tossed with a zinfandel dressing. Feta cheese is scattered plentifully on top, tying the whole dish together with its salty notes.
Lines are not uncommon at Amber Road Café, especially on weekends, but the service is usually timely (with servers always conscious of dwindling coffee levels) and the food well worth the wait.