From the beautifully redesigned exterior to the wood paneled walls and the richly finished hardwood floors, everything about Cru Bistro, the long-awaited downtown restaurant, exudes warmth. It doesn’t stop there as Urban Woman and I were greeted by Bree at the door who showed us to our table and checked on us intermittently through the night. Brittany, our excellent waitress also similarly kept a constant check, but so did the managers on duty.
I can’t say enough about the atmosphere and the comfort level. We had one of the four window tables available and the chairs may have been the most comfortable I’ve ever sat in for a meal at a restaurant. Just the right balance of firmness and softness and just the right size from front to back, they were extra-wide and simply great.
The wine list is good, though not stunning, but I had a very nice Sauvignon Blanc. The wine list at the west location seems to be a bit more extensive. We each had coffee and liked it. I can’t say it measured up to any of several coffee houses downtown, but for a restaurant, it was good. They brew Villa Rae coffee and outside Trio it’s the best downtown restaurant coffee I’ve had.
We enjoyed an amazing cup of shrimp and crab bisque which had an orange peel taste and just a little crunch. It’s hard to go wrong with a crab bisque, but this one rose just a bit above the others. Urban Woman selected grilled salmon served with blue crab butter, broccolini and roasted grape tomato. It could not have been prepared more perfectly. A crusty exterior opened to a delicious, tender interior.
I went with Picatta pasta, an angel hair pasta with caper, shallot, tomato, asparagus, and spinach. Purchased alone it runs $12, but I chose to add shrimp which added $7 to the price. It also tasted wonderfully, but to nitpick just a little, some of the pasta was stuck together and five shrimp for $7 seems a bit steep. We also would have enjoyed a piece of fresh-baked bread with our meal, but none was forthcoming.
We also sampled desert by sharing a chocolate torte with a raspberry glaze and it proved to be everything we would hope for. Just as was the case with the meal, it was just delicious and just enough in quantity. We left the table with no take-out box, no food on the table and full, but not miserable. That’s rarely the case for us.
The final bill ran $75 with tax and tip, which is high for us, but is about what our bill came to on our first visit to Tupelo Honey. When we return it will cost less because we will not get an appetizer and desert. Also, small-plates offer a less expensive alternative we’ll look at. You can view the menu here and you’ll also find cheese plates and heart-healthy options.
We loved the place. We’ll be back, though we won’t likely go in as big as we did on this first visit, but it will be a place we think of whenever we want to go out to a place that is a bit nicer than our typical night out and particularly, it’s a place I would enjoy taking out-of-town guests or friends who don’t often come downtown. It’s part of a larger chain of restaurants, true, but it also works with downtown just like its sister restaurant, Nama.
I’d really encourage you to try it – and tell them you read about it here. I’d love to see comments from any of you who have also eaten there, so your fellow readers can determine if mine was a typical experience.