Crave - Ansonia CT
My husband and I went to Crave for the first time Saturday night. We got there about 5:30pm with the plan of sitting at the bar, having a few drinks and appetizers. The bar was completely open and about 4 tables in the restaurant were occupied.
What a great experience we had. Tony, the bartender was attentive and lively without being over bearing. We ordered our drinks and two appetizers and after finishing those, ordered two more drinks and two more appetizers. Everything was excellent.
We left about 7:15pm at which time ever seat at the bar and every table in the restaurant was full. I would definitely go back.
We went back to Crave and had a nice dinner. Good service and everything. We sat alone in the corner and felt it was pretty loud, just from the noise of the sparse crowd. They were not very busy but the bar was doing OK. Perhaps that crowd was generating much of the sound. This is a negative for us and we wished that the place were quieter and more in line with everything else. As you can see from the pics it has a finished, smooth ceiling and all surfaces are hard.As I mentioned that Foster's was attentive to, Crave could sure use some cloth draping around from the ceiling or something. 100 piñatas?
I have posts about Crave elsewhere. I thought I'd tack onto your recent post.
Let me start by saying that Libby (the owner-who also has the clothing store next door), knows us and always speaks to us when we come in. The only favoritism I feel is the attention that she gives us, which is also given to many customers. They become friends. Libby is unique in the personal aspect of running the restaurant and involvement with clientelle. I mentioned to her that Bistro Basque was the only other one I could think of that was in that league.
We had chicken croquettes for an appetizer. They were damn near perfection. Since nothing is perfect, I would say they were extremely adequate. They could have been a little hotter in the center. They had a delicate crunchy exterior and the generous amount of garlic-cilantro aoili was perfect with it.
SO had short ribs and I had the sea bass surprise (surprise=special). The short ribs were great as usual and the sweet Q sauce is really excellent. This time the plantains were tender, juicy and very sweet. Usually I am underwhelmed with fried or grilled plantains, but these babies were really good.
My large piece of grilled sea bass was very good (it should be for around $28, as I recall); I was barely able to eat it all. It was topped with a olive-based salsa and garnished with fried yuca (which I thought was carrot ribbons. They hit my weak spot with the olives on top! I have never really enjoyed broccoli rabe that much. Perhaps it is an acquired taste. I thought the pairing of a somewhat delicate tasting fish with the strong flavor of the rabe was too much. Neither were they that tender, in my mind, but perhaps broccoli rabe is that way. The mixed vegetable medly was fine; fresh and very well seasoned, as usual.
We shared the chocolate torte with raspberry coulis. The torte is rich and decadent. We could not eat but half of it. We thought they were a little stingy with the coulis but it was pretty on the plate.
Libby cracked a bottle of Picket Fence chardonnay for me, so I could have it "by the glass". This is typical for her. She likes to keep her customers happy. We dropped a buck-eighteen (including tip). We had appetizer, four glasses of excellent wine (by the glass) entrees, a dessert and apertifs. We had excellent, flawless service from (?) a late-twenties blonde-haired woman. Fair exchange!
Wednesday night was a little slow, compared to her busy, full-occupancy weekends. I would say you probably wouldn't require reservations for mid-week. I believe I saw a sign outside saying she was now open for lunch.
Ansonia (and The Valley) is lucky to have Crave. It is classy, the food is excellent and where else in the area can you go to a nice upscale bar AND restaurant? AND, there's no dress code!
My husband and I went to Crave on Sat. night for our anniversary/my birthday. We arrived for our 8:00 reservation and were seated immediately. You defnitely feel like you are in New Haven. A very nice space. They have quite a large bar that fills more than 1/2 of one wall. Our meal was delicious from start to finish. I had rack of lamb and my husband had steak. I could have eaten all of my meal (because it was delicious!), but I saved 1/2 for lunch today. And also I wanted to save room for dessert! We shared Tres Leche and it was wonderful.
The service was great (very attentive) and Libby came over to our table and we chatted for a bit. She definitely made us feel welcome. I thought the prices were reasonable for a really good meal in a very nice place. If you haven't been yet, you've got to give it a try. I think you'll be pleased.
re: joan mar
I'm heading to Crave tomorrow. Got a 6:30 reservation. I ate there about two weeks ago & was very pleased with it. Has a very posh New York feel about it despite it's location, which is about the only thing I don't like about it (although I'm sure it's an area on the rise that's why fine restaurants like this appear in the first place). Otherwise once indoors the decor, food, and service are fantastic. Looking forward to it.