Café Azafran is Always Great, but Thursday Nights are the Capper
There may not be words adequate to describe the talent and dexterity it takes to sing love songs and mix a martini at the same time. To watch bartender-songstress Holly Lane mix you her special cosmopolitan and remember all the words to a showtune requires even more superlatives to describe it.
So yes, Thursday nights at Café Azafran, on the ocean block of Baltimore Avenue, when keyboard virtuoso John Flynn tickles the ivories (okay, plastic keys) and Holly Lane sings from behind the bar is just crazy special.
The crowd gathers early at the bar to get a seat for the libations and entertainment—which is exactly what a group of us did on Thursday, April 13, prior to the Women’s FEST opening dance. In fact, we got there so early, we took over the bar area completely and had a blast. It was too early to hear Holly sing, but we certainly enjoyed the cocktails and mocktails.
But to get the full treatment, we came back later to be dazzled by her cabaret-perfect voice, flair francais, and sensuous version of Edith Piaf’s favorite, La Vie En Rose. Mostly Holly sings from behind the bar, but she comes out and sings by the keyboard and among the tables as well. It’s joyful!
Her duets with Flynn, deliciously breathy ballads and the joyous cabaret atmosphere the gig inspires make Thursday evenings at Café Azafran a winner.
And of course, there’s the food! The Mediterranean inspired menu offers a huge selection of tapas dishes, soups, chicken, pasta, and lamb.
But their nightly specials have won my heart. If you’re headed to Azafran Thursdays to hear John and Holly (6:30-9:30), you’ll discover that it’s Steak and Wine Night. For $27, with a glass of red wine, you get a choice of a Petite Filet, flat iron steak or Prime Belvedere Steak plus a choice of three kinds of preparations, plus a salad, bread, and those yummy olives. The dinner is $22 without the wine.
Celebrate Wednesday nights with the $25 Shrimp Night–six different entrée selections served with olives (amazingly wonderful) and bread. My favorite is the Spanish Garlic Shrimp with corn and saffron rice, but the Ginger and Lime Shrimp is an excruciatingly close second.
Friday is Seafood Night with three courses for $25. You start with a tapas selection, choosing from the likes of (my fav) Spanish Garlic Shrimp or fried oysters or Calamari or Crab Bruchetta or others; a seafood entree like the Seafood Mixed Grill, Crab Cake, Scallops and pasta, or Fish of the Day, all served with soup or salad and of course, olives and bread!
In addition, Café Azafran is open for lunch, with an extensive selection of salads (including the warm baked brie salad which is as decadent as it sounds) plus sandwiches (burgers, gourmet grilled cheese, crab cake sliders and more). I’ve also had the vegetarian quesadilla, and it’s great.
And I would be remiss not to mention that Café Azafran is open for breakfast on weekends. From light fare like pastries, fruit and granola parfaits, and Baked Oatmeal, to hearty Waffles, Chorizo Hash, and Omelets, the menu is chocked full of great ideas.
I love to sit in the bright and airy front room, have breakfast with friends and then walk the half a block to the boardwalk for a stroll.
So day or night, whatever your mood, whether you want great drinks from Holly every night, or drinks and a song on Thursdays, Café Azafran, 18 Baltimore Ave. has it all going on. Cheers! ▼
Fay Jacobs is an author of five published memoirs. Her newest is Fried & Convicted: Rehoboth Beach Uncorked. As a humorist, she’s touring with her show Aging Gracelessly: 50 Shades of Fay.