Saturday, January 20, 2007

Crush 29

Crush 29 just had it's opening night in Roseville, CA two nights ago. Celebrating a birthday last night we decided to try it for dinner. As always when a restaurant opens you do not expect perfect service and this was the case for last night as well. I did not quite expect that bad service however... It was not lack of attention or good will, but the fact that, at least the staff we were serviced by, seemed very inexperienced and pretty much untrained.
We had reservations and got seated promptly (so far so good). We ordered VOSS bottled water, a bottle of wine, and 2 appetizers for the table, and 5 minutes later the bus person showed up with tap water... We explained we ordered bottled water and he corrected the mistake. Our waitress returned and took our order for dinner and explains the wine will be right out. Soon enough one of our appetizers shows up, Seared Ahi with Pickled Cucumbers and a Soy Mustard Wasabi Sauce. Perfectly seared Ahi made an interesting paring with the pickled cucumber, but the sauce had not a real kick and could have had some more spiciness to it. Ten minutes later we are still waiting for our wine and the other appetizer, Sweet Baby Back Ribs, to come out, when suddenly the salad is served. We ask for the ribs and our waitress realizes she forgot about them. Five minutes later the ribs appear and finally the bottle of wine we ordered as well, Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages 2002. A tasting is poured for my husband, or so we thought, but the waitress goes on and pours the rest of us as well before any tasting is performed. She does not walk around the table and pour into our glasses like customary but have us send our glasses across the table for her to pour at the spot she stands, leaving my husband in the end with just the initial little tasting in the glass while the rest of us got the normal amount of a "glass of wine" in our glasses. Interesting...
The wine on the other hand was really good. Dark, ripe fruit on the nose with black cherries and big tannins. A medium bodied wine with a nice long finish. It went perfect with my husbands main course and I enjoyed it on the side of mine (see below).
Dinner is served and my brother-in-law and wife got the Asian Inspired Clove Brined Pork Tenderloin and a Portabello Mushroom Risottos. My husband had the Beef Tenderloin with Crush Smashed Potatoes, Fried Onion Strips, Gravy and Asparagus, and for me, the Snap Crackle Salmon with Crush Smashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Mandarin Orange Sauce. The filet was made as ordered and the salmon was cooked perfectly, a little undercooked for that moist, tender finish. We both really enjoyed our main courses. The pork was just ok but the risotto was really good according to our company. As our plates are cleared the bus person also clears our wine glasses, and for one of us it is still half full and we have to ask him to please leave it as he goes to remove it.
Dessert time came along and nothing to exciting caught our eyes on the menu so we decided to skip it and head home.
We all really loved the decor of the restaurant, and it has a great circular bar in the center of the room with tables for eating in the bar around it. I for some reason had expected a more quite, sophisticated restaurant but the music was blasting in the bar and the place was very loud and lively. A great place for an after work drink with friends. The also have around 50 wines by the glass, which you just have to love...
Despite the lacking experience of the staff, and the service they provided, they were very polite and eager to please, and we will definitely have to return for another dinner in the future. I think this restaurant might just need a little extra time to reach what it was meant to be. In the meanwhile we might just drop by for a cocktail in the bar (they had a great drink menu of interesting house specials) and enjoy the stylish decor.
Check out their full menu at www.crush29.com.

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18 comments:

Andrew said...

Suspect service or no, this made me hungry. :o)

Andrew (To Love, Honor, and Dismay)

Anonymous said...

I'll be working here soon!
Under strange circmstances I won't be able to join the crew until March;
but they are onto something..

I got to enjoy dinner at Crush 29 last night.. Service was fabulous, food was great!

.. artisan cheese plate appetizer= BIG hit at our table. Four different cheeses, nice crispy bread and fresh honeycomb.. with our chardonnay it was tasty and a real conversation piece!

This concept will go far.
Surely lots of kinks to work out though like anything else :)

Victoria said...

Wow, only a week later and it sounds like the service really improved. I think I have to return earlier then planned, because like you said, there was nothing wrong with the food...
Thanks for the update!

porscheluvr said...

I really wanted to like this place. We walk in and it's jumping! Loud! Beautiful people four deep at the bar. We get the flashing pager and try to squeeze up to the bar. So what if they are all 25 years younger than me. Got a "Crushtini". Many bubbles, little fluid, no buzz, ten bucks. Seated a bit late. The wine list-major disapointment. Absolutely no depth. Even a white zin for Gods sakes. I note they have Silver Oak Cab, the Alexander Valley. I ask the waiter if they have the Napa, and he says they don't, and besides the Alexander is better. He is wrong. Picked a screw top Pinot from New Zealand from a list of about 10-12 pinots. Not bad for $38. My wife got the ribs with mashed potatos and greasy stringy fries. Interesting combo. Ribs had a sweet/very spicy glaze. Unable to stand up to any wine, more like pub grub. I got the butternut squash ravioli. Napped with a spicy tomato sauce. Completely obscures the flavor of the squash. Might as well have stuffed the pasta with Elmers for all it mattered. The four girls at the next table invited six of their closest friends to their table to cel;ebrate a b-day. All drinks, no food in sight. We were progressively squeezed into a very small space by these really loud and drunk folks. The manager came over and comped us dessert. We took it to go-key lime pie, and banana cream pie. They were lousy. My prediction: when the party crowd moves on this place will die. Not a fine restaurant, not a wine place. Just a mutimillion dollar bar for the 25-35 crowd.

Victoria said...

Thank you for your thoughts and comments! I really enjoyed reading them. I have gotten so many mixed reviews on this place. Service is bad, or good. Food is horrible , or actually pretty enjoyable... This place seems to be very uneven in quality. I do agree that it was way to load for a, supposedly nice, dining place. More like a place for a happening after work crowd... I will have to go back in not to long and see if things have changed from our first visit... I think just like you that the crowd will change after a while. I hope at that point that they concentrate more on good service and on improving the food, and that the place will servive...

Anonymous said...

Victoria,

You began this review by saying you'd expect certain sub-par service and food levels. I disagree, any venue worth it's salt will bring their "A" game to the table from day one.

If you research the trials and tribulations of this restaurant, it's been a long road.

Crush 29 spent an enormous amount of time training their staff, I saw the armies of young trainees day in and day out.

That being said, I had a short experience Opening Day.

I entered the building and was quite impressed with the surrounds, noting a million staff around...normal first day stuff.

After walking by 4 hostesses without a smile to greet me, I sat at the bar for 4-5 minutes before the 3 lady bartenders. One finally noticed me, whilst the others decided how the bar top should be set-up; since they had just opened and were still figuring out the flow of business.

I left after the beer, I did get a fair rundown on the menu, and the girl did say if I had any questions, just ask..she "had tried everything".

The comment I really have, I firmly believe is a mistake for most restauranteurs...trying to service more people than your venue and staff are able to handle.

Why cannot owners/managers commit to providing an experience as close to 100% satisfaction for every guest; instead of thinking short term and seating and serving as many dinners as possible.. .despite the service and kitchen capacity.

That restaurant (dining) should not be more than 3/4 full for the first few weeks, get it right EVERY TIME, then open the throttle.

If we the customer expected this, instead of forgiving restaurants and continually returning; the entire industry would lift it's game.

That being said, I really like the concept, think the menu and wine list are great...we need more upscale restaurants in the area.

Let's just hope the management actually gets thier act together and not only demands the best from thier staff, but also gets out on the floor and expects more from themselves.

Victoria said...

I agree with you 100%. A restaurant should aime for great food and service from day one. Unfortunately that is not the case 90% of the time in the real world. They open to quickly before the staff is properly trained. (I saw the herd of trainees there as well, but it seems like something went wrong along the road because our waitress had no idea of what she was doing.) And often the kitchen staff has not had enought time to work with the menu. I know of course that this is all a matter of money. It costs a lot to have a "finished" restaurant sit unopened. They just rather do a so-so job in the begining and improve as time goes.
And maybe you are right. If the consumer demands more and do not accept anything but stellar service from opening day, the industry might change in the future. But for now, it seems like it is something we usually have to expect (altought we might not accept it...).

Anonymous said...

porscheluvr nailed it. Porsche lovers have a unique affinity for excellence! So, I can see why you were let down; there was no excellence to be found at Crush 29. If it makes you feel any better; I'm only 29 and I was not impressed at all. Our wine took forever, and our food was generic (and 20 minutes late). The Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi Mahi was bland and under-seasoned (btw, Alton Brown wants his recipe back!). It reminded me of a decent fish stick; it needed to be slathered in tartar sauce with this level of seasoning. My wife had the Mushroom Risotto; this was a great disappointment. The mushrooms tasted like candy; we're coming to realize that this is how people in Roseville like things to taste, though. Oh well. Our waitress was polite, swift, and attentive; no complaints there. She should work at a real restaurant. Still waiting for Roseville to get one of those...

zuliblu said...

I have personally dined at Crush 29 many times since the opening, and have had a phenominal experience every time. I was actually amazed that the restaurant has been open for such a short time. The food and wine prices are so great, that I can afford to dine there several meals a week. My favorite dish is the Snap Crackle Salmon, served with a orange cream sauce, I crave this dish. And where else in the area can you get a bottle of Silver Oak for $85.00. I have had good service and I have had exceptional service, never less than that. The servers I have had were very knowledgeble and passionate about the wine and cuisine. The restaurant its self is amazingly beautiful, like nothing else in the area. This restaurant has my patronage for life!!

Victoria said...

I appreciate your input. Glad to hear that somebody has had both great food and service at this restaurant. I need to revisit soon as my experinece was far from good. Trust me I hope for it to turn out to be a great place. Like you said, there are to few good places to dine at in Roseville for a reasonable price.

Anonymous said...

Agree with all of you.

Went there last night and all I can say it was it was the worst dining experience we have had in a long time.

Apologetic staff, food not delivered for well over two hours. When it did come it was cold. Seated next to bar crowd made it difficult to hear one another. Loud music, loud drinking crowd and overall more a club serving hard liquor then a fine dining restaurant or wine bar.

Not what we expected at all. Can't honestly recommend to anyone

Anonymous said...

The owner should stay with Jack In the Box ownership

Anonymous said...

It is really hit and miss with Crush 29. A small portion of the staff is very knowledgable and experienced with the food and wine and how they are paired. A much larger portion of the staff doesn't know shit and is working there simply to pay for their after hours 'habits'. The chefs are great, but are rarely found in the kitchen. Management doesn't communicate with one another and seems to be more interested with mingling with the crowd than doing any work. I'm often embarrassed to work there...and probably won't be there much longer. I think its a great concept, and probably looked a lot better on paper.

Victoria said...

Thanks for your comment. Great to get input from an "insider". Explains a lot of the uneven service and food experince.
You would think the owners would notice and make improvements... I guess they have not... But they will have to or this place won't survive.

Anonymous said...

Four of us had dinner there on a Sunday evening. We have dined all over the country and we LOVED Crush 29. The coconut shrimp and lamb lollipops were so good I was tempted to order one as an entree. Two of us had the crackling salmon and two had the drunken beef. All were outstanding. Best salmon I've ever had.
The only less-than-positive was the server. She was very nice and enthusiastic about the food but her
skills and level of professionalism
were not comeasurate with the ambiance and food.

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Anonymous said...

Интересно написано....но многое остается непонятнымb

Anonymous said...

I have a problem when my date orders a house wine and the waitress "persistently "offers another brand, my problems when it's three times the price!, house glass 7 dollars, what was recommended 17 bucks!!!?? What can I say without looking like a tight wade, nothing! But never again will I take a date there! Food was just ok, but don't like there hard sale approach probably mandated by mangt., No more tipping and maybe the waitress's will get the message!