I had been to Crush 29 once, shortly after they opened, so I had an idea of what to expect. Still, the outside emanates an aura of overpriced, overdressed snootiness within. Luckily, this aura is false. I only detected 10% snootiness from the hostesses, and that’s where it ended.
My friend and I arrived around 7-7:30 and we were told there was a 30 minute wait. I was a little surprised by that since we didn’t see anyone else in the waiting area either inside or out. There were plenty of tables in the bar so we sat down at one of those. The bar area is pretty nice, the bar itself is round and in the center of a very symmetrical room with two main dining areas to the left and right and 4 tall backed circular booths sit in the corners of the bar area. It’s a dimly lit restaurant (I made the right choice choosing my “nifty 50” lens) with a candle on each table and music at just the right level for the ambience.
Our waitress quickly greeted us, brought menus and took our drink orders. I went with a Shock Top Belgian-Style Wheat and began perusing the menu. Our drinks arrived along with a wine glass filled with breadsticks which were great, we finished them all by the time we left.
We ordered the Artisan Cheese & Salami Block (A selection of three cheese, assorted “salumi”, fresh fruit & grilled sourdough). “Assorted salumi” turned out to be about 4 super thin slices of salami. I only remember 2 cheeses, a very strong and excellent blue cheese and a mild brie which had a very creamy consistency and was also excellent. There was a kind of jam included which was very tasty. I’m not a big fan of manzanilla olives and didn’t eat any of them. Also on the plate but not very notable were dried cranberries and slices of red bell pepper.
Shortly after the plates were cleared from the starter our entree’s were delivered. My friend ordered the Bacon & Avocado Kobe Burger (Wagyu “Kobe Style” hand made patty with crisp applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese & a red pepper aioli with Crush frites). He said the burger was excellent, but was disappointed with the bun to patty ratio. The fries, he added, were just okay and that he’s had better at places like Smashburger.
I ordered the Drunken Brandy Steak, cooked rare (Two day balsamic marinated hanger steak with a mushroom ragu, asparagus & Crush smashed potatoes). The waitress apologized that she was unable to find a steak knife for me but I ended up being fine with the butter knife, it just look a slight bit more effort. The steak itself was fantastic, cooked perfectly, flavorful and tender. The ‘smashed’ potatoes were a little bland on their own, but once I started cutting into the steak, releasing some of it’s juice, it and the mushroom ragu started mixing into them making them quite tasty. The asparagus was well prepared and left me wanting more (not a bad thing–they were large stalks–I just really love asparagus and could eat it all day). I had a steak the night before at Auburn Alehouse and wasn’t sure I wanted steak two nights in a row, but I ended up being really happy with my decision to order this.
The prices were about what I expected for the service and food. We spent about $80 after tax/tip for the appetizer, dinner and 2 beers each. As for Crush 29 overall, don’t let it’s external aura keep you from going. Inside it’s a nice dining experience without being too stuffy. I recommend it.