While no one disagrees that the Foster-Powell neighborhood is on the uptick, making gritty Southeast 53rd Avenue and Foster Road a destination for duck confit cassoulet still seems a stretch. This is part of Cava’s charm. Antique light fixtures dangle over custom-built wooden booths fashioned from reclaimed lumber, and the walls are painted a deep hue of pomegranate red. On a cold and windy night, a friend likened Cava’s softly lit interior to being in the womb. Entrees are mainly Southern European-inspired, like the tasty bouillabaisse, with tender slabs of cod, chubby mussels, clams and shrimp in tangy tomato broth served with grilled bread and a glob of garlicky rouille. Cava’s burger—ground sirloin on a dense housemade bun—rivals Castagna’s. Like its thoughtful roster of well-priced European red and white wines, Cava’s dessert menu sports a variety of dessert wines for around five bucks a glass.
IDEAL MEAL: Seasonal salad, burger, pecan pie.