Food Adventures

Friday, June 08, 2007


If you have had a hard time finding out about Crust, the new pizza place in the space where Settimana used to be, you're not alone. Despite the fact that we knew the place was set to open on May 24, on the day of the opening we could not find any information about whether it was really going to open. I certainly could not find a phone number to call, which was discouraging. (By the way, the phone number is 773-235-5511)

But, we decided to take a risk. When we arrived, it looked like the restaurant was open, but we were told that it would take a couple of minutes until we got served. It was shortly after 5. In fact, we did not get seated until close to 6 pm. By that time, there were at least 15 or so other people waiting to be seated. Since the restaurant was technically open and we could smell the food being prepared in the wood-burning over, it might have been a good idea to offer those of us waiting a taste of something, but alas! At least the atmosphere didn't feel rushed and stressful. Everyone seemed calm albeit a bit disorganized.

Crust, which touts itself as "the first certified organic restaurant in the Midwest," has a menu of 5 salads, 4 sandwiches, and 10 pizzas, or as they are called here 'flatbreads'. The flatbreads are described as "pizza's big brother, worldly and without boundaries." I was not sure what that means (even though I found the description somewhat intriguing) and, after trying the flatbread/pizza, I am even less sure I know why you'd call it that. The flatbread is a smallish pizza (10 inches or so): the toppings taste rather fresh and vibrant, but, for my taste, there isn't enough cheese (I could barely taste the cheese). But, it is cooked in a wood burning over and it tastes good. In addition to some rather traditional combinations, such as the Italian sausage and shroom, there are also somewhat surprising ones such as clambake (fresh clams, b├ęchamel, fresh-pulled mozzarella, caramelized onion, wild herbs) and b.l.t. (slab bacon, beefsteak tomato, amish blue cheese, tossed arugula). Many of the flatbreads are made with b├ęchamel, the flour-butter-milk sauce usually used in lasagna. The prices range from $10 to $14.

The sandwich choices seem to cover both vegetarians and carnivores: pulled pork, grilled cheese, tallgrass beef, and Californian. The pulled pork sandwich is served on a brioche bun, which adds to the sweetness of the pork and the sauce. It was also supposed to have Asian slaw, but I only found some pepper strips in mine in addition to the hoisin sauce. The pork was tasty, but not even close to impressive.

The most exciting part of the menu might be the cocktails, many of which contain interesting vodka infusions. The grapefruit mojito is truly a must-try. The drink list also features local beers, white and red wines, martinis, and several vodka infusions.

On opening day, the service was a little uneven: most of the waiters seemed quite inexperienced and nervous albeit well-meaning. There were some snafus, but nothing offensive. If the food were more memorable, I would go back.


At 11:38 AM CDT, Anonymous Erika said...

It's so good to see you blogging again. I wish I lived closer and could try out all of these fun new places with you.


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