Similar to her highly popular Mediterranean bistro (Trattoria Café Napoli), Mermaid Garden is one of those places you have to search out. You’ll find this alluring cafe in an odd business center, sandwiched between a florist and a post office.
The restaurant features not only plates full of thoughtfully sourced vegetables and meats, but also the most amazingly delicious sweet treats, coffee and an emerging tea service.
Counter seats offer a bird's-eye view of the small kitchen — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
The black-and-white checkered, green-and-white striped McKenzie Childs-inspired decor is sprinkled with mermaid art. Under the chandeliers, dollies and fresh flowers adorn the tables.
Also eye catching is a wall of shelves, full of fancy teapots, cups and saucers begging to be filled with something sumptuous.
It seems that everyone who walks by and peers through the windows wants to be part of what's going on inside at Mermaid Garden Cafe. And once patrons walk through the front door, their faces light up as they peruse the colorful designs and the display case full of pastries, cakes and breads.
Made fresh daily, the pastries are full of things like chocolate, guava, cheeses and tomatoes; they're available both for dining in and for taking home.
Chef Jordan is not afraid to play with flavors and textures, and her cakes and pies are proof of that.
Delicious pastries tease patrons on the other side of the glass — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
Breakfast, brunch and lunch are served at the Mermaid, with farm-fresh eggs featured prominently, no matter what time of day.
“Eggs are part of our culture,” says the Cuban-born chef. “I see an egg like you see a filet; that is how I grew up.”
This important protein tops many dishes here, but don’t expect them to taste like the eggs your grandma fries up on Sunday morning. Jordan's signature black garlic aioli is a regular feature on the huevos, the seasonal produce, legumes and meats.
And if it's not the aioli, you can bet she'll be polishing her culinary creations with some other type of fresh sauce: a salsa verde, emulsified truffle with mustard or roasted tomato vinaigrette, perhaps.
“I always want to finish with something funky, like maybe a peach vinaigrette,” Jordan says.
Farm-fresh eggs are a protein staple for Mermaid Garden Cafe — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
Fans come to Mermaid Garden Cafe not only for the great food, but also to be in the presence of the vivacious chef. She's kind and generous to her patrons, and she loves to know what's going on in their lives.
The café served at this cafe is bold and comes in traditional Latin offerings, such as cortadito and con leche. The wine list is small but mighty and includes lovely champagne cocktails.
Mermaid Garden Cafe will be introducing its full tea service during the summer. You'll find teas from South Africa, China, India and more. The chia, green, black and organic selections are all served according to custom.
However, like the breakfast menu, don’t expect anything else about this service to be traditional. Instead of neat little cucumber sandwiches, you'll find mini croissants stuffed with prosciutto and lots of small bites packed with great flavors.
For those (men) who might feel overwhelmed by the intoxicating femininity of the Mermaid, but don’t want to miss out on the mouthwatering meals people rave about, there are tables just outside in the atrium, where you can sit with assurance that your masculinity will remain in tact and your belly will be fat and happy when you leave.
Regulars come not only to enjoy the food but also to absorb Jordan's energy — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch