The chicken braised with olives was tender and juicy and offered a nice alternative to common chicken preparations. The beef braised with cabbage was tender and rich, the cabbage adding a bit of texture.
Chef Bennai is the perfect captain for this ship. Buffets in the wrong hands can end up untidy, flat and dry. But watch Bennai's staff tend to the buffet a few minutes and you realize they've been well-trained to protect the diner's experience.
Before he joined Cafe 501, Bennai spent two years managing the kitchen at Sleepy Hollow restaurant, which was known for its pan-fried chicken with green peas and family-style dining.
“I'm frying chicken the way we did it at Sleep Hollow,” he said. “Cast-iron skillet, fresh oil — only thing missing is the greens, but maybe we'll add those later!”
Behind the buffet you'll spy a pizza oven, which produces not only pizzas but fresh pocket pitas. Bennai also decided to pay homage to the space's previous occupant, the Catfish Cabin.
“We're doing the whole fried catfish during dinner,” Bennai said. “There were here 30 years, so we thought we should give the people the thing that kept them coming back.”
Lunch is $8.99 and dinner is $11.99. If you'd like to stick with soup and salad, which will be plenty for most, cost is $7.99. Kids ages 2 to 12 eat for $4.49, and you can do a to-go box for $4.99.
Capers is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. They also offer catering services, including a private dining room.
“There is no charge for the room,” Bennai said.
For more information, call 720-2600.