1621 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
Brunches, according to culinary bad boy Anthony Boudrain, is equivalent to simple arithmetic in the culinary world. Make some eggs, set aside some cut fruit, maybe make some hollandaise sauce if your really hoidy-toidy, and you’ve got yourself the makings for a high profit, low work meal. Brunch is a decent return on the investment to a Restaurant owner, even if it doesn’t challenge a chef to any great extent. If you know how to make a Denver omelet, or can whip up some huevos rancheros, you too can set yourself up a restaurant that can bring in the dough…so to speak.
We’re some what lucky here in the Emerald city that so many places actually take some thought into the brunch ritual. Cafe Campagne, Coastal Kitchen, even Minie’s all have given some thought into avoiding the clichÃ© that has become the weekend morning meal. And now it’s time to add another location to the brunch stop…Crave Foods.
Crave is a little place, tucked in the corner of a small building at 1621 12th Ave. It doubles as an espresso counter in which they sell freshly baked muffins (of which we had a free tasting. More on why that happened below). It’s a cozy place, seating only twenty four people at a time. If you want to avoid the crowds, get there early…but apparently not too early.
Before getting into great detail, let me clear things up right away. The food makes it worth the trip. It’s important you remember that throughout the rest of this review.
For example, I had the Benedict Florentine: Poached eggs, spinach, in champagne-shallot-orange hollandaise sauce over lox and a crust of brioche. Along with the freshly squeezed orange juice, it was a wonderful way to start the day, at least food wise.
And it was actually a difficult choice to make. I could have had Mom’s Overnight French Toast: Sourdough bread soaked overnight in an orange custard served with with sweet blue cheese butter and topped with real maple syrup. Or perhaps the Crave Omelet: Shiitaki mushrooms, goat cheese, rosemary and duck confit with green chili caramelized onion homefries, toast and fresh fruit. The entire brunch menu was just large enough to provide various options, but not too large as to make one feel as if they were inundated with information. And then there was the Madame Crave. Oh how I wished I could have had both that and the Florentine.
My eating partner had scrambled eggs and sour dough toast, and had ordered a side of bacon and sausage gravy. Her order surprised me a bit, as it seemed akin to going to a genie and wishing for a donut, instead of a million dollars. I thought her order would be no problem.
But instead, that’s where the problem began.
We had arrived at the restaurant at approximately 8 am. By this time, Crave would have been open for nearly an hour. But after up selling the sausage gravy, the server came back to alert us that the cooks had not yet made the gravy for the day, an hour after opening.
A few minutes later, the server came back to alert us that the sourdough bread was not yet available, as the bread delivery had not yet been made. I can appreciate that on some level. It was a Sunday morning and somewhat early. But upon reflection, it did affect the eating experience.
When reviewing the restaurant, there at least two aspects in which one should take into account. The quality of the food, and then the quality of the service that served the food. The food itself? Like I said, not bad for a quick and easy brunch, not as good as some, but better than most.
But not having items on the menu after being told that they were there, and not alerting us before hand that certain other items were unavailable was a tad disquieting. These weren’t major offenses of food protocol, but neither should they be ignored.
The server did recognize this, and this is how we had gotten our hands on the freshly baked chocolate/blueberry muffin. The crust just right, the chocolate melting onto our hands as wisps of steam came forth. The server felt bad for the restaurants faux pas, and the muffin did make up for it.
I’ll be giving Crave another shot. The food is good enough, and the thought behind the menu is certainly there. And I really want to know what a fried egg, over prosciutto, with sweet hot mustard and gruyere on a toasted brioche tastes like. Madame Crave, I hear you call my name.