Cozying Up to Calva Café

After finding some fabulous food at what appeared to be a rinky-dink Chinese restaurant in Morgantown, West Virginia, I decided it was time to try the Chinese restaurant closest to my home. I’ve walked past Calva Café endless numbers of times, just as I’ve driven by endless numbers of Seattle’s Chinese restaurants en route to far better fare in Richmond, BC.

I’ve documented my disappointment with Seattle’s Chinese food and Queen Anne restaurants; on top of that, Calva’s contention of serving both sushi and Chinese food wasn’t particularly promising. But I’d just flown home and was hungry.

Calva was previously a place for take-away coffee and ice cream, so I had a hunch it would be somewhat small inside. Turns out there are just three tables, as well as five seats at the sushi bar. The couple in charge has roots in both Japan and China, which explains the split menu. They’re also hard-working; he doing the hot cooking and sushi preparation, and she doing everything else—including washing dishes, retrieving ingredients, serving, answering the phone, and running the register. Be patient with the service and preparation; it’s like you’re a guest in their tiny kitchen, so sit back and marvel at how they utilize their limited space. And if you get to know them, they’re quite nice; she even gave me a couple of her prized apriums to take home after my meal. (Or were they pluots? I just can’t get a handle on the hybrids.)

As for the meal? I had some bean curd with vegetables. Not bad. Especially for Chinese food in Seattle.

Cross-posted on Examiner.

Calva Cafe on Urbanspoon

One Response to “Cozying Up to Calva Café”

  1. D'vorah
    June 21, 2009 at 12:47 pm #

    thank you, Jay.
    I recently discovered Calva’s charms when i was sent out for Chinese food from a friend recovering from surgery. He lives on Queen Anne, so I scanned QA Ave and spotted Calva.
    I was impressed by how long the preparation took for my take-out order, time to run a few errands and then some.

    I could feel the care and time taken by the cook (the man of the couple) to prepare this food, and enjoyed chatting with the woman who took care of my order, thoughtfully packaged.
    My friend was very pleased with the chicken lo mein and I was thrilled with the grilled tuna roll. A delicious complimentary soup broth was included in our package.
    On my second visit, I learned that the woman’s name was Valentina, that she spoke Mandarin, Taiwanese and Japanese, and that she was apologetic about her “poor English”.
    We had a sweet exchange and I walked away feeling the earnestness and integrity with which this couple is trying to run a business.
    Calva deserves more patronage, both because the food is authentic and excellent, reasonably priced, and the couple deserves to succeed.

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