Little Prague Restaurant
330 G St.
Hours: Open daily, see littleprague.com for more info
Price: $$ to $$$ out of $$$$
Ambience: 3 ½ stars
Food: 3 ½ stars
Service: 3 ½ stars
Walking in to Little Prague Restaurant for some “authentic Bohemian cuisine,” I had one overwhelming question: What the hell is Czech food?
Most of us are familiar with Italian and maybe French edibles, but as far as east-central European, I couldn’t think of anything beyond bratwurst and beer.
The physical setting was definitely old world – like a small Alpine cottage in the middle of downtown Davis (and next to a Jack-in-the Box).
Outside, there was a patio area with a brick fireplace and water fountain, segregated from the sidewalk and traffic on G Street by some decorative bushes and small trees. Inside, it was like a beefed up version of my grandma’s house, decorated with wooden furniture, lace curtains, porcelain plates on the wall, and knick-knacks. Overall, comfortable and familiar, with a pinch of European sophistication.
So back to the question: What the hell is Czech food? Well, it’s nothing unfamiliar – the menu includes stroganoff (a popular dish, my waitress told me), Prague potato pancakes, and a variety of items that generally include meat and potatoes. Nothing too exotic, and very suitable to the American palate. Little Prague has a big selection, too, with a full brunch, lunch, dinner and dessert menu.
Personally, my friends and I went for a Sunday birthday brunch (one of them just turned twenty), and I ordered the Chicken Schnitzel. Essentially, it’s a lean slice of chicken breast breaded and fried golden, with a slice of lemon “for some zip,” as the menu says. It also came with a small scoop of potato salad and some greens. I ordered Czech fried potatoes (basically home-fried potatoes) on the side.
Honestly, (and I don’t say this often) it was just like mom used to make. The portions were generous but not overwhelming. The chicken was crispy on the outside, moist on the inside, and tender.
Everything else was tasty too, with that indescribable quality where you felt like the food on your plate was made homemade special just for you, with an attention to detail you don’t expect.
My friend ordered the Classic Eggs Benedict – the best she said she ever had. Another friend tried the Prague Potato Pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce – an acquired taste, but delectable nonetheless. I’ve had them before at a friend’s Passover Seder dinner back home in L.A., and as far as my expert knowledge of potato pancakes are concerned, they were pretty good.
Some advice: GET THE DESSERT. We ordered a warm apple strudel with a scoop of ice cream, and chocolate raspberry mousse. I could go on and on describing the fresh-baked apple chunks with cinnamon wrapped in a perfect flaky crust, or how the chocolate raspberry mousse just melts in your mouth, but let me just say this – we were ridiculously full from the main course, and the dessert still disappeared in under five minutes.
Like I said: GET THE DESSERT. Anything pastry or sweets-related at Little Prague is definitely worth a try.
I completed my Czech experience thoroughly pleased. The atmosphere was great, the food was fantastic and our waitress, Zoe, was among the friendliest people I ever met. She brought the apple strudel out on the house with a birthday candle for the occasion.
Some members of our party were visiting from nearby Sebastopol, and halfway through our brunch-lunch, we decided by popular acclamation we were definitely coming back soon, next time for dinner.
There are plenty of items under $10. Brunch is cheaper than lunch, and some dinner items run as high as around $20. The establishment hosts daily specials, and specials for holidays like Valentine’s Day coming up (hint!).
Oh, and “Czech” out the website, littleprague.com.
You can preview the menu, view upcoming events, check out pictures of the outdoor and indoor areas of the restaurant and read some genuinely interesting articles, like “Czech fun facts,” “How Does Czech Food Taste?” and the “Are You Bohemian?” Test. I got an 89.
ANDRE LEE can be reached at email@example.com.