The Early Word–Open Book Cafe


Curious about how good a library cafe could be, we stopped by the new Open Book Cafe in the Brooklyn Library today. The spot is owned by Spencer Rothschild, also of Barrio, BLT Prime and Calle Ocho, and offers salads, sweets, sandwiches (lobster sliders, barbecued pork sliders, etc), tacos and quesadillas, which will soon be joined by a wine and beer selection, so you can get drunk at the library (a first, hopefully).

Usually, Open Book Cafe offers al fresco food and drink, at open air tables in the shadow of the library’s impressive facade. Today, because of the rain, it was only serving from a kiosk inside the main foyer, where there’s a scattering of tables and chairs. We were told that they couldn’t serve the hot food inside, so only the refrigerated offerings were available. (No lobster sliders! No pork tacos! Booooo.)

We tried a Thai chicken-shrimp cobb salad, shown above. It was made slightly special by the addition of diced jicama. What made it Thai? The dressing was coconut milk. Sounds awful at first, but with a sprinkle of salt it was actually pretty good. The fiery popcorn on the side, while not exactly fiery, was very tasty.

Then there was this just fine chicken salad with raisins on a croissant, shown at left. The corn salad on the side was weirdly oily.

We’ll have to go back on a nice day to see what’s really up with Open Book Cafe. But for today, while the food wasn’t memorable, it’s certainly better than any food we’ve ever had at a library.

10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn