Visiting the marketplace in Bown Crossing is something like strolling through downtown Sun Valley. The buildings are carefully complementary yet not monotonous in design; the landscaping is perfectly contrived, and even the street lamps are tailored for people who can afford good lighting: not too yellow, not too white.
The decor of Kessler's Cafe at Bown Crossing fits in well with the air of the community. Tasteful color schemes make the place warm and comfortable; a wine rack spans an entire wall and various old-time skis give the restaurant a resort-like feel. My lunch companion and I agree that, though the style is beyond our simple tastes, we like it.
We wonder if we're dressed appropriately for the new Sun Valley as we sidle up to the counter to order, but are comforted by the warm service and appealing menu. Kessler's is cozier than we would expect for such a chic marketplace. Although the selections seem pricey for lunch, the sandwiches, paninis and salads all sound unique enough to warrant a splurge. The menu is extensive, with plenty of vegetarian options and unique signature dishes.
I order a turkey brie sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. The turkey is sliced thinly just as I like it, the brie is delicious, and the walnuts between the slices make the sandwich delightfully crunchy. The fries are perfectslightly sweet and crispy. My lunch date enjoys the heap of potato salad accompanying her meal, though she describes it as a bit too herby. The restaurant's signature Kessler's Panini is a true hit: sharp cheddar cheese, grilled tomatoes and slices of apple grilled between two thin pieces of bread. It's tangy and simple, and she loves it.
For dessert, the cafe offers a few standard favorites, like creme brulee and decadent chocolate cake. Though the creme is a favorite of both of ours, we anticipate something truly unusual with the chocolate cake and decide to take the chance.
The best we can say for dessert is that it is well-decorated. A mound of chocolate adorned with chocolate chips, the cake turns out to be all pomp and no circumstance. It is served too cold for our tastes and lacks the richness we longed for. We shake our heads in disappointment.
As we drive from Bown Crossing, our heads clear and we're better able to appreciate the lunch experience, despite the cake incident. Tucked away in the middle of upper-class housing developments, Kessler's makes an extraordinary sandwich and provides a respite for Boise dwellers seeking a dining experience with a bit more class.
Amanda Peacher shoots up with carrot juice.
Kessler's Cafe, 3110 Bown Way, 338-6632. Mon.-Sun.: 7 a.m.-9 p.m.