It’s not everyday you walk through an enchanted garden-style courtyard with classical music playing overhead just to grab lunch in downtown Baton Rouge. But at the Third Street Asian eatery, T & T Cafe, this is just an average lunch hour.
It was around 1 p.m. when my lunch date and I met in front of the recently opened cafe on Third Street. As we walked past the tall iron entrance gate and into the tropical oasis surrounding the front door to the cafe, I felt instantly relaxed.
When we got inside, it was clear that the cafe is bigger than it looks from the street. In the front, it has grab-and-go refrigerators for animal-shaped mousse cakes, Japanese cheesecake and custom ice cream cakes. There are two desktop computers for guests to use, internet cafe-style. In the back, professionals typed away on their laptops at large communal tables.
The walls are painted bright blue with abstract art, and while the decor was vibrant and intriguing, the cafe’s menu is what really takes the cake.
T & T Cafe sells sushi, donburi (a rice bowl with cooked proteins), poke bowls, salads, silky ice, teas, smoothies and coffee. The sushi menu spans a whole page. There’s every style from simple salmon rolls to a tropical mango shrimp tempura roll. Guests can also order the oh-so-trendy milk cheese foam teas in flavors like rose, lemon and pineapple.
I ordered the chicken teriyaki donburi, which included thin strips of teriyaki chicken served over a bed of mixed greens and a side of rice. The teriyaki sauce made everything tasty as I dipped each slice of savory/sweet chicken into the rice before taking a bite of the flavorful goodness.
To drink, I got the matcha milk cheese foam tea. I’ve always been on the bubble tea train, but was unsure about the idea of cheese tea—something that has been catching on in Baton Rouge. To my surprise, the tea was still deliciously sweet and packed with matcha flavor, even with the cream cheese after-taste.
My lunch date ordered spicy shrimp sushi, which turned out to be the perfect light lunch dish in the middle of a workday. It was well-seasoned and packed a kick.
With almost-full bellies, we decided to try the cafe’s desserts. Their mousse cakes are something to behold—molded from yogurt, milk and fruit in the shape of pigs, dogs and rabbits. They are then hand-painted, creating an incredibly realistic look that makes them hard to eat … almost.
Just when we thought we couldn’t be more blown away, our server brought out our order of lemon silky ice. The gorgeous frozen dessert is made with carefully and thinly sliced ice topped with cream and lemon flavoring. The ice was cloud-like. It felt as if we were taking scoops of cotton candy strands until it melted in your mouth. For added flavor, the silky ice was finished with two matcha-flavored Pocky sticks and small beads of tart juice that burst with every bite.
By the end of our meal, my lunch date and I felt like we had gone on an adventure. Between the trippy animal desserts and out-of-this-world silky ice, it was a unique and entertaining experience. Who knew lunch could be this fun?
T & T Cafe is at 320 Third St. The cafe’s hours are Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.