Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cru Café, Charleston, SC

Cru-ise on by this Cafe 

I have only heard a few things about Cru Café. 1) The food is great, 2) It’s really hard to get in, and 3) You should make a reservation, so we did.

Cru Café is on a tiny one way street called Pinckney.  It’s off of East Bay, but the street sign is somewhat covered by an overgrown tree limb, so keep your eyes peeled. You should also bring your patience and a lot of quarters, as parking is tough.

We were lucky to quickly score a spot on East Bay, fed the meter and headed to the café. Cru Café is in a small antique home and including their outdoor patio seats about 45 people. 

We arrived at the restaurant at 11:55 for our 12:00 p.m. reservation.  My husband had forgotten something in the car so I was standing there alone.  A gentleman approached me.  “How many for lunch?” “Two,” I said.  “Do you have a reservation?” “Yes.”  I gave him my name and watched him walk away.  I then watched as he went into the open kitchen area, picked up a plate and began eating. No, I can’t make this up.

Wiping his mouth off with the back of his hand he looked into the dining room and then said, “It will be about two minutes.”  As I looked into the dining room there were two four-tops open.  One of the four-tops was 2-two tops pushed together. In light of the volume we’d heard about we thought that he would seat us at one of the two tops and move the other away to accommodate other customers.

Back to the kitchen to finish his nosh and my “two minutes” became five, as the two tables in the dining room remained empty. “Right this way,” He said.

He then proceeded to take everything off the table next to us and leave it pushed against ours.  This seems incredibly strange to me leaving a barren table, but I thought it was part of a bigger picture perhaps? However, a couple arrived, asked for a table and they were told something would open up after 1:15. They said no thanks and left, and we had plenty of table space.

Our server was friendly and efficient and brought us our drinks and nice warm bread to start with.  Since we had heard so much about the food at this place we didn’t want to waste our appetites on bread.

The menu has a few salads, small plates, 10 lunch sandwiches and 5 lunch entrees.  Many sounded very appetizing and it was hard to decide.  We landed on the BBQ Beef Sandwich served with fries and General Tso’s Chicken, Fried Rice and Slaw, or Salw as they have printed on their website. (Doesn’t anyone proof anything anymore?)
BBQ Beef Sandwich
I have just purchased the new Iphone 4s and decided to use timer function to see how long lunch would take.  Time was starting to drag and I found myself thinking “how long is too long to wait for lunch?” 

Unless I’m in a big hurry, I’m Okay waiting as long as needed as long as when I get the item I’ve ordered my “French fries stand at attention.”  So in this case it was TOO long on many levels.

Our lunch arrived in 33 minutes and 46 seconds.  My husband’s sandwich was nice, rich, tasty pork, fairly hot fries, he was really enjoying it.  Mine? I got a rock.

General Tso Chicken
Clearly I was served cold, dead food from the window.  Really, after waiting all this time?  So I asked to have it remade.  So get this….

As we sat and waited, the host that ate his lunch before, during and after seating us came by and said, “Was ­everything cold on your first lunch?”  What is this a quiz?  If the rice was hot and the chicken cold would that make a difference?  Or do I get more points if the entire dish was terrible?

There are some times in our careers when someone has leaned over in a meeting perhaps and said, “Just stop talking.” This should have been one of those times.

Based on my Iphone 4s (thanks Steve), my new lunch was fired in less than six minutes.  It was exactly 1 hour and 5 minutes since we arrived at the place.  Unfortunately we were so rushed that I had a bite or two and had to go.

The gentleman came back and said, “Is this one better?”  I wanted to say one of two things, “Better than dead food, yes,” or “Probably not as good as your lunch.”  I chose however, to just say yes.  I just don't plan on going back anytime soon.

I gave Cru Cafe 3 out of a possible 5 plates and that's generous.

Cru Cafe on Urbanspoon


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