Last night we were surprised with a last minute invitation to be guests of good freinds at Tempo, a purple restaurant on Duke Street in Alexandria.
The outside of the restaurant was purple in a big way. It was like the one color of purple you could always find on the remainder racks at the Esprit for girls outlet in 1987. I expected some Nagel prints on the inside, but no such luck. It was actually pretty.
The room was open with fresh flowers on the tables, chrome-framed landscapes and other prints on the walls. There were only a few young people in the place, bit it filled up quickly. I felt like I was in South Florida for just a moment.
The menu was standard brunch meets French-Italian. French toast, prosciutto eggs benedict, omelets, etc. for the brunch crowd and a regular menu of pastas, seafood, and meats for the more lunchable set.
Hot rolls and butter arrived after a bit of a wait, a theme that would continue throughout the meal. It did seem like Tempo was slightly understaffed and that those servers who were present were, well, a bit lost. Coffee was only refilled after a reminder and we had to ask a few times for a juice they were bringing. T's meal came with soup or salad and we were told it was coming, but it never did.
Some odd and minor service issues aside, Tempo makes good food at a reasonable price.
T was pleased to see grouper on the menu, a favorite from our trips to Sarasota and Tampa where grouper abounds. It did seem to fit with the scene as well. The grouper was cooked perfectly and dressed with a flavorful beurre blanc that was also very well prepared. Like many of the day's dishes it was served with whipped potatoes piped on the plate. Overall the portion was a bit small, but it was very good.
I shared two dishes with my friend RootBeer. French toast was thick and tasty, if a bit eggy in the middle (hey, I actually like it that way). The berries scattered on top were ripe and tasty. No mushy berry messes here!
We also enjoyed the prosciutto eggs benedict. The hollandaise was delicious and the eggs were just right. I was not familiar with the particular type of prosciutto but it was a nice salty friend to it's english muffin base and the tang of the hollandaise.
The orange juice, in spite of a struggle to get a second glass, was cold and delicious, either freshly-squeezed or a great approximation thereof.
It should be noted that Tempo seems active in the community and, like many area restaurants, supports area nonprofits and other programs. Yea for them!