Review: Village Square Cafe

What: Veggie Ranchero Burger with Crinkle Cut Fries
Where: Village Square Cafe – 16150 NE 85th St #104, Redmond, WA 98052
Rating (1-5):  🌿🌿🌿

The other day I walked 10,000 steps through town! (Crowd applauds.) I love doing that. Honestly, I just love walking as a main form of transportation when I can help it because it’s healthy and means I can work in a tasty lunch halfway through. On several trips through town – both walking, bus and car – I have passed the Village Square Cafe, but I have never stepped inside. I finally changed that.

Village Square Cafe is in a small little strip that’s honestly easy to miss, but it’s been a staple since at least the 80s, apparently. The outside reminds me of a cafe, but the inside was surprisingly more diner when you step in. The restaurant was split between a diner bar and a sitting area on the other side – both separated by a wall and doorway.

On that Friday at 1 p.m. (the restaurant is only open until 3 p.m. every day), the tables were nearly full, so I decided to take a seat at the bar. The space for the bar was a bit narrow, but there were only a couple of other people there when I came in. I got a good view of the diner aesthetic while sitting there – vintage neon and tin signs with cute sayings and characters, pies sitting on the counter, etc.

The actual service experience was fine! The first waitress went on break shortly after I arrived, so after giving me a water, an older waitress came by and efficiently took my order. I settled on their veggie burger and crinkle cut fries.

According to the menu, the Ranchero Veggie Burger is the following: “Featuring Dr. Praegers Famous California Veggie Burger! Warm ranchero salsa, crispy onion straws, avocado slices, tomato and our own lemon avocado cream sauce.”

This burger was intriguing for all positive reasons. First of all, instead of being a bean-based protein burger, it was green based. My assumption is it was made from some type of broccoli mixture, and it was fried with a little char to make it quite brown and crispy on the edges. The fries were your standard crispy, hot, crinkle cuts that I crave on a regular basis!

The “ranchero” part of this burger was packed with flavors I adored! Unfortunately, the sauces and toppings that accompanied the “patty” completely overpowered the crispy texture. After a few bites, the burger fell apart on me, and I ended up having to eat it with a fork to get all of the good stuff. In short, everything was too warm and the bun was just a bun. Based on what I gathered, the bun wasn’t toasted or particularly tough/thick in order to handle the many soggy, hot ingredients on this burger. I have to assume if the burger was served on something like a toasted potato roll it may have worked better.

I actually don’t like that I have to give this 3 stars, because I actually really dig the vibe of Village Square Cafe, love the flavor of my veggie burger, and will likely come back at some point to try something else. But given the soggy texture of my burger, I can’t – in all fairness – overlook that textural and structural issue. Even if it was tasty deconstructed, still.

However, as mentioned, I will be back! I can’t wait to give everything else a try. (I may even just go for that burger again with the knowledge of what I’m getting myself into.) If you’re like me and keep passing the Village Square Cafe, stop in on a sunny morning or early afternoon, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

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