This was really a tough call. Cafe Malta is quite frankly a diamond in the rough. However to get it really going it will need some polishing. Despite a 2 star review, I will be going back. Mainly because I can definitely see the potential that it holds.
I personally think that when this place does get hopping it will be loud and a busy place to kick back and eat/drink. It is a simple layout, a non-existent waiting area and a beautiful copper top bar. Lot's of white wall space currently and cool mirrors and hanging lights. They had wonderful music piped in which made me feel very relaxed. The kitchen area is somewhat open with a frosted plexiglass as a divider, which also is quite chic. You will find ample parking in the strip mall where she sits off of Brodie and William Cannon. The building used to house Block Buster Video store or right next to it.
Being only three weeks old, they have some glitches which need to be addressed, like not offering Crown Royal, but Makers Mark hit the spot as an alternative. The menu is simple and light in options, which is fine for me. Apps, Salads, Entree's and desserts. A couple of specials on the board as well. We went for the Pork Belly Appetizer, I wanted the ravioli but they were out so settled for the Pork Shoulder and Suz had the Ahi Tuna.
Pork Belly arrived with a potato and carrot confit. The presentation was really quite good and the portion size of the Pork Belly was quite substantial. It looked like a slab of meatloaf at first. It had a nice char on the outside. However, I found it really quite fatty. I know, it's supposed to be a little fatty, but I found this version to be mostly fat. I would have preferred it if they would have trimmed it down a bit, but we ate it all. The potatoes were nice little chunky bites and the carrots were more of a decoration gracing the plate with some color.
My Pork Shoulder was a big let down. Unfortunately, I think they may have left off the Date demi-glaze or if it was on there then it was a complete non sequitur addition. My first bite was fat.. I realized at that point that they probably should have trimmed the pork shoulder a bit more prior to roasting it. Or perhaps provided a better selection of medallions since I cut off the fatty bits and was left with half my entree. I guess the roasted apple couscous was meant to be a little bit like dressing?... I really couldn't get a flavor profile other than the taste of the roasted pork. The brightness that the apple could have brought to the plate would have helped in my opinion. As it was, it all just seemed to blend together. The broccoli was fine if not unimaginative.
The Ahi-Tuna was a massive serving. A huge chunk of fish. It was like they caught Charlie the Tuna and served him on one plate. It was perfectly cooked rare, Suzie had asked for it to be cooked chef's choice. It was served lightly grilled with Basil Oil. I had a couple of bites and it was tasty, but again I felt it was lacking some spice, perhaps a wassabi smear on the plate would have been nice touch. The rapini and baked polenta cake was a nice companion for it.
Our server Chris, who ended up as our bartender since we moved to the bar after our dinner was very helpful, polite and did a fine job.
I truly think they will get this down. They bill themselves as Tex-Med or a European Trattoria and they seem to be on their way to accomplish this. We will be back, they have some killer looking drink specials and hopefully we will have a better experience.