Cru Kitchen & Bar: Spring Preview

April 13, 2013

Entrance to Cru

I was recently invited to Cru Kitchen & Bar in the Gold Coast to try some of their tasty dishes off their new spring menu. Cru is located in the former Feast space, directly across from the Talbott Hotel. The ambiance at Cru is very classy, and admittedly, fancier than I expected. I especially enjoyed the intricate ceiling design which was absolutely gorgeous.

Gorgeous Ceiling
During the spring preview event, there was a cocktail and wine station set up, as well as passed bite-size portions of the new spring dishes. One of the featured cocktails was the French 75, a combination of vodka, citrus, rose and mint, topped with citrus slices. I liked the refreshing taste of the citrus and especially recommend it if you're into grapefruit. I didn't get a chance to try the other cocktail, their take on a Pimm's Cup, because it went so quickly, they ran out. I can only assume it was delightful!

The wine station offered both a red and a white option including a New Zealand sauvignon blanc and a Spanish garnacha.

French 75 & Pimm's Cup
As we sipped on spring cocktails and vino, we were treated to a tasting of passed seasonal bites. I managed to snap a few photos as the dishes were presented.  Several bites were served on Asian soup spoons, including the edamame hummus with seaweed, mint, radish and cucumber. The hummus had a similar texture as regular chickpea hummus, but what really sold me was the mint. It made the dish that much more refreshing.

Edamame Hummus
Another bite served on a spoon was the grilled shrimp and octopus with garlic pesto, white beans and tomatoes. I thought the seafood was cooked nicely and I loved the smoky beans, but I felt it was slightly over-salted.

Grilled Shrimp & Octopus
The dish I was most excited to try was the potato gnocchi with ramps, mushrooms, watercress and truffle. I enjoyed the texture of the gnocchi, but just like the shrimp & octopus, this bite was too salty.

Potato Gnocchi
The steak tartare was served atop a crouton with fried capers, aioli, and cured egg yolk. I enjoyed this bite more than some of the others and managed to sneak in a few extras as they were passed around.

Steak Tartare
Probably my favorite bite of the night was the duck liver mousse with strawberry, soy and celery, served on brioche. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo but it was quite tasty. The savory liver paired nicely with the sweetness of the strawberry. Another un-photographed fave were the ham & cheese croquettes served with a homemade honey mustard dipping sauce. I've never been one to turn down a piece of fried, cheesy, deliciousness! There was also an escolar poke with ponzu, strawberry, avocado and jalapeno but I didn't get the chance to try it.  

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere at Cru; it would be a great place for a glass of wine or small plates after work, or a night out with girlfriends. The small sampling of food I did get to try was quite tasty, although I think I would have been more blown away if I had seen the full-size portions and presentation. I give Cru Kitchen & Bar 3.5 stars for their warm environment and varied menu-- just lay off the salt shaker!

Cru Kitchen & Bar
25 E. Delaware Place
Chicago, IL 60611
312. 337.4001
Cru Cafe and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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