All in all, I think Exo is a very good addition to Forest Hills and I would definitely go back. My strongest positive association with it, now a few days out, is of how comfortable a place it is to relax with friends. Unlike many restaurants in the City, this place, especially on the second floor where I ate, is nice and roomy, The tables are very nicely spread out, giving you a chance to have a conversation with your friends and not have to be listening to the people sitting right next to you at the same time! What a breath of fresh air that is for the City, right?
One thing I noticed about Exo is your experience is very much determined by where you end up sitting. If you are facing one direction, you could end up staring at a big-screen TV showing a ball game. If you are facing another, you could end up looking out one of the big windows at the passers-by on Austin. So, this place can either feel like a sports bar or a nice, casual restaurant, depending on where you are sitting. Overall grade for atmosphere and the design of the place: A+.
|The upstairs dining area at the new Exo Cafe on Austin St.|
I also really liked their beer selection (see photo of menu below). Some of the more progressive restaurants are starting to offer a nice selection of craft beers, and Exo is one of them. Overall grade for beer: A.
Unfortunately, my least favorite part of my first Exo Experience was the main course. My classic cheese burger started out strong - it was presented really nicely, with Belgian fries on the side. But by the time I was finished I wasn't very impressed. The burger was even slightly overcooked in one part. Overall, it was kind of dry, not a big, juicy, tasty burger. Now, it wasn't bad - just not great. Grade for the burger: B-
The fries were pretty good - I recommend them alone, without ketchup. Fries grade: B+
For dessert I had an iced coffee which was fine. I'd give it a B+
Also, our service was very good. The staff was extremely friendly, attentive, and helpful. And the food came out pretty fast. Service: A+
So, wrapping it all up. I recommend Exo Cafe as a nice place if you want to spend a relaxing time with friends or family. It's a very casual, nicely decorated restaurant and bar with great atmosphere, excellent service and pretty good - not great - food. I look forward to trying some of the other dishes there. The salads I saw being served looked very impressive.
Overall grade for Exo Cafe: B
|Looking down on the bar area at Exo.|
|The view from Exo's second floor. Great people watching while you eat!|
|Exo's craft beer list.|