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    Post #1 - January 24th, 2007, 8:16 am
    Post #1 - January 24th, 2007, 8:16 am Post #1 - January 24th, 2007, 8:16 am
    Just read somewhere about Michael Altenburg's new place on Division-think it was Timeout-anyway can't remember the name or whether it is open-anybody?

    Crust
    2056 W. Division
    Chicago, IL 60622
    (773) 235-5511
    I love animals...they're delicious!
  • Post #2 - January 24th, 2007, 8:33 am
    Post #2 - January 24th, 2007, 8:33 am Post #2 - January 24th, 2007, 8:33 am
    It's called Crust, and if you think that sounds like a bread baker we talked about some months back, there appears to be some relation between the two.

    Dish wrote:7 Questions for Michael Altenberg (Bistro Campagne), Whose Promise of an Organic Pizzeria in Wicker Park Has Left Us Salivating for a Year

    D: We heard you have a master baker on your crew.
    MA: Charles Foulkes. He uses a technique called “pain levain,” which is natural fermentation. So we are using his breads on our sandwiches. And he is also selling his bread through the restaurant.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #3 - January 24th, 2007, 9:24 am
    Post #3 - January 24th, 2007, 9:24 am Post #3 - January 24th, 2007, 9:24 am
    Mike G wrote:It's called Crust, and if you think that sounds like a bread baker we talked about some months back, there appears to be some relation between the two.

    Dish wrote:7 Questions for Michael Altenberg (Bistro Campagne), Whose Promise of an Organic Pizzeria in Wicker Park Has Left Us Salivating for a Year

    D: We heard you have a master baker on your crew.
    MA: Charles Foulkes. He uses a technique called “pain levain,” which is natural fermentation. So we are using his breads on our sandwiches. And he is also selling his bread through the restaurant.


    FWIW, the restaurant will be situated at the corner of Division & Hoyne in the space which was formerly occupied by Settimana Cafe.

    I first met Charles and learned of this possible arrangement last summer at a dinner party, so I have been very anxious for the restaurant to open for quite some time.

    It should make a lovely addition to the neighbourhood, and I wish them all of the best.

    E.M.
  • Post #4 - January 24th, 2007, 1:56 pm
    Post #4 - January 24th, 2007, 1:56 pm Post #4 - January 24th, 2007, 1:56 pm
    There are now paper signs up in the window (I walk by the location all the time). The signs are about organic food, pizza and the fact that there will be no preservatives used.

    I know that they have been working on it for a long time, I look forward to it opening before I move up north to Highland Park.
  • Post #5 - March 8th, 2007, 8:52 pm
    Post #5 - March 8th, 2007, 8:52 pm Post #5 - March 8th, 2007, 8:52 pm
    Big article in the reader this week about Crust, but includes info on getting certified organic.


    With demand for organics outstripping supply, is it possible to run a completely organic restaurant and still make money? Michael Altenberg thinks he has the answer—and it’s pizza.

    By Nicholas Day
    March 9, 2007


    IF RUNNING A restaurant is enough to give anyone a headache, Michael Altenberg must be trying to give himself a migraine. He’s weeks away from the opening of Crust, a pizzeria in Wicker Park that stands to become the fourth certified-organic restaurant in the country and the first in Chicago. But certification presents a unique set of problems. Even the simple act of bringing food into a kitchen gets tricky.

    “When a delivery comes in,” Altenberg says, “the first thing we need is an affidavit that says how the truck was cleaned, who cleaned it, and the products that were used. Then the driver has to come in and sign an affidavit saying that if organic tomatoes and nonorganic tomatoes were on the same truck, there was no chance of those two things commingling.”


    The rest of it is here.

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #6 - March 9th, 2007, 8:47 am
    Post #6 - March 9th, 2007, 8:47 am Post #6 - March 9th, 2007, 8:47 am
    headcase wrote:
    Then the driver has to come in and sign an affidavit saying that if organic tomatoes and nonorganic tomatoes were on the same truck, there was no chance of those two things commingling.”

    Oh, come the $#@! on!
  • Post #7 - March 9th, 2007, 9:10 am
    Post #7 - March 9th, 2007, 9:10 am Post #7 - March 9th, 2007, 9:10 am
    That's somewhat reminiscent of this NY Times article about how tricky the "no trans-fat" business is getting:


    MATTHEW REICH is a baker dedicated to natural ingredients. He prefers butter in the cookies and brioche he turns out at Tom Cat Bakery in Long Island City, Queens, and like many professional cooks he applauds the public health effort to get artificial trans fat out of food.

    But, in a twist of science, the law and what some call trans-fat hysteria, Mr. Reich and other wholesale bakers are being forced to substitute processed fats like palm oil and margarine for good old-fashioned butter because of the small amounts of natural trans fat butter contains...

    “We’ve gone back and replaced all of the nice, good butter with supposedly trans fat-free margarine,” said Rick Doyle, the Schwartz regional manager. “The hardest one for us was the croissant. We replaced butter with palm oil. From my perspective it’s not a croissant any more. It’s lost all its lamination and flavor.”

    Still, he thinks most customers won’t notice.
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  • Post #8 - March 9th, 2007, 9:27 am
    Post #8 - March 9th, 2007, 9:27 am Post #8 - March 9th, 2007, 9:27 am
    Rick Doyle said:
    ...From my perspective it’s not a croissant any more. It’s lost all its lamination and flavor.”

    Still, he thinks most customers won’t notice.


    That may be the saddest thing I've read today about food.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #9 - March 9th, 2007, 10:02 am
    Post #9 - March 9th, 2007, 10:02 am Post #9 - March 9th, 2007, 10:02 am
    They've outlawed making croissants in New York!!??!!

    Wow.
  • Post #10 - April 19th, 2007, 4:00 pm
    Post #10 - April 19th, 2007, 4:00 pm Post #10 - April 19th, 2007, 4:00 pm
    Has anyone gotten any update on when Crust might open? I'd like to take a guest there May 1 but I haven't seen anything on-line nor did Directory Assistance have a phone number for them. Any news from anyone in the know or in the neighborhood?
  • Post #11 - April 19th, 2007, 4:05 pm
    Post #11 - April 19th, 2007, 4:05 pm Post #11 - April 19th, 2007, 4:05 pm
    As it happens, I walked by it yesterday and saw guys working inside. It could be open by then! Who knows?
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #12 - April 19th, 2007, 5:23 pm
    Post #12 - April 19th, 2007, 5:23 pm Post #12 - April 19th, 2007, 5:23 pm
    Hellodali wrote:Has anyone gotten any update on when Crust might open?

    According to the article in today's Tribune, "in May".

    According to an article in yesterday's Metromix, "the first week of May".

    According to its Metromix listing, "around May 1".
  • Post #13 - April 24th, 2007, 10:19 pm
    Post #13 - April 24th, 2007, 10:19 pm Post #13 - April 24th, 2007, 10:19 pm
    Michael Altenberg was interviewed for a brief piece in the LifeStyles section of today's Chicago Sun-Times.

    I was most interested to learn that Crust will offer Alsatian Flammekuche (Tarte Flambée).

    -------

    In other Division Street news, two new food-oriented establishments are opening soon in the 1900 block. The first is a bar/restaurant concept which is moving into the large, barrel-vaulted garage formerly occupied by Eric Goldberg's Autosport. And, the second is a Via Carducci spinoff (i.e. pizzeria/trattoria) which is moving in right next door, in the space formerly occupied by Jinx Cafe.

    E.M.
  • Post #14 - May 19th, 2007, 9:49 am
    Post #14 - May 19th, 2007, 9:49 am Post #14 - May 19th, 2007, 9:49 am
    FYI -- There is a sign in the window stating that they will open on May 24.

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #15 - May 23rd, 2007, 5:56 pm
    Post #15 - May 23rd, 2007, 5:56 pm Post #15 - May 23rd, 2007, 5:56 pm
    headcase wrote:FYI -- There is a sign in the window stating that they will open on May 24.

    SSDD


    they appear to have opened a day early... i walked by at 6 and saw that the valets and staff were all waiting patiently for customers.... there were 10 or 15 people inside on the one side but i don't know if they were eating or just browsing..
  • Post #16 - May 25th, 2007, 7:56 am
    Post #16 - May 25th, 2007, 7:56 am Post #16 - May 25th, 2007, 7:56 am
    Anyone been in yet?
  • Post #17 - May 25th, 2007, 9:23 am
    Post #17 - May 25th, 2007, 9:23 am Post #17 - May 25th, 2007, 9:23 am
    Went last night (the day before was a "soft opening" according to the valet I spoke with).

    Some service problems with the obviously overwhelmed hostesses had us seated after a longer wait than expected. They've done a great deal of work to the interior and it's greatly changed from the Settimana space; we were outside and the planters and fountain are gone which is too bad as they made for a nice outdoor dining space. In general a very modern feeling dining room without much of a whiff of Chipotle that I could detect.

    We ordered two glasses of red which needed much ice to bring down to a drinkable tempature, but were tasty at that point (pretty good sized pours too, imo).

    Tried the mozzarella, tomato, basil salad to share. The tomatoes were obviously not at peak season but still tasted like actual tomato. The cheese, basil, red onion, and balsamic were all terrific though. Wonderful flavor from the cheese.

    I ordered a Clambake "flatbread" which had clams and bechamel and some other ingredients I can't recall. My wife had the Flammkuchen. They arrived looking pretty small, perhaps 9" at the widest point, and slightly undercooked in the centers. Another 30-40 seconds would probably have done it. Flavors were very good though. The clams were sweet and juicy, and the caraway and bacon on the Flammkuchen quite savory. The crust itself was pretty good, but again the general underdoneness took away from them. The parts that had browned/blackened were nicely chewy with good wood smoke flavor.

    For dessert we had a slice of choclate cake from Bleeding Heart which was also very good and a satisfying size for the two of us.

    The waiter was friendly and helpful without being obsequious. He comped our wines because he saw us loading them up with ice (we protested it wasn't necessary, but he insisted). We told him about the doneness issue and didn't get any excuses or 'tude but a thanks for the heads-up sort of response.

    They were pretty overrun with customers and it was the first night of full operation so I'm willing to give them some slack about the cooking time. The flavors of everything were very fine, but we were disappointed by the size of the entrees. Mine was $14, her's $9 and for that amount of money they seemed just too small. Our total bill was $44 (that's w/o the drinks), and I can't say that I left full.

    So that's definitely a disappoinment. I very much appreciate what the chef's trying to do and realize that the ingredients are going to be pricey. I live a block away and would love to have a place I could walk to to get a wood-fired pizza, but at these prices it's not going to happen all that often.
  • Post #18 - June 4th, 2007, 12:31 pm
    Post #18 - June 4th, 2007, 12:31 pm Post #18 - June 4th, 2007, 12:31 pm
    Dean Richards reviewed it on WGN AM 720 on Sunday and was glowing in his praise of the organic vegetables - supposedly it's one of four certified completely-organic restaurants in the country (?). My friends in Wicker Park have been stymied by wait times. Anyone else been in there in the past few days?
  • Post #19 - June 5th, 2007, 7:30 am
    Post #19 - June 5th, 2007, 7:30 am Post #19 - June 5th, 2007, 7:30 am
    Crust. Eat Real.(R)

    It should be Crust, style (or concept) over substance. My meal last here was so mediocre that I cannot think of a compelling reason to return.

    When we arrived, there were a few people waiting outside, host said twenty minutes, so we went to the bar where more people were waiting. There was one bartender working the whole bar, even though the menu was heavy on mixed drinks using the house-infused vodkas (more on those later). While the bartender was very nice, she was sssllloooooowwwwww. So much that the natives were getting restless. I wish I could taste the infused vodka, but my drink was so watered down that I couldn't taste anything but the pomegranate juice. At $10 a pop, I at least want a kick of vodka in the taste.

    If anyone has ever been to Settimana (the former inhabitant of the space), you might recall that the restaurant and patio were better than the food. Warm exposed brick on the walls, the patio tricked up with a fountain and lights - it was all a very good looking place, I thought. Now, it appears that someone gutted all the charm from Settimana in order to make Crust. I like the floor to ceiling windows, but the dining area has been reconfigured with a bar, and is jam-packed with Ikea-like tables. The orange plastic 70s school cafeteria chairs are uncomfortable as all heck. But the worst part of the new reconfigured space is the open, featured dishwashing area that spans 1/2 the length of the restaurant. Along this space are hi-tops where, you guessed it, we were ultimately seated. So not only were we given a prime view of the glasswasher (who was grumbling about having to wash dishes), but every (and I mean every) time the busboy returned dirty glasses to him he reached behind us over a bar to place the dirty glasses on an table-level ledge that was adjacent to our table where the dirty glasses were lining up. This was like design gone mad.

    Please forgive the rant on the design of the restaurant, but it was, to me, an example of the style-over-substance theme of this place. For those who don't know, Crust, Eat Real (R), is the first certified organic restaurant in the Midwest. Yes, that's cool, in concept, and if you eat exclusively organic food. But how does the food taste?

    Crust attempts to skirt the pizza debate, I think, by referring to all of its "pizzas" as flatbreads because, as the menu intimates, "flatbread" is a more global term. Apart from the offering of about 6 flatbreads, the menu consists of three or four salads and sandwiches. However, my understanding is that flatbreads are unleavened breads. As Crust's "pizzas" appear to resemble pizza more than flatbreads, I think the flatbread moniker falls flat. Likewise, the menu attempts to avoid the inevitable comparisons to the classics by offering, say, instead of a margherita, a "Basilico," which has mozzarella, "melted" tomatoes, basil and bechamel. Or instead of offering a New Haven style white pizza with clams, it offers the "Clambake," which has clams and bechamel. The bechamel shows up a lot as a topping. Almost every pizza had "melted" tomatoes. The pizzas range between about $10 - $14 in price.

    I ordered the "Basilico," as I always do at a pizza, I mean, flatbread place. I think it's the simplest, most elegant combination which really showcases the product. I was a little worried about the bechamel, fearing a creamy, thick, gloppy sauce that wrapped around my tongue. My friend ordered the pepperonata, which had mozzarella, provolone, peppers and pepperoni.

    When we got our pizzas, I mean, flatbreads, the most noticeable difference was the crust. Mine was flat with two errant bubbles, and my friend's was big and bubbly, but not charred. As mine was pretty wet in the middle on top, I attempted to cut through it with my knife. The knife would not go through the bottom of the crust, which was charred black. So I picked it up and bit into it. The crust was tough, really tough. And the rest just tasted like tomatoes and basil. The cheese appeared to have evaporated off in the oven. (The melted tomatoes, I guess, are finely chopped or pureed tomatoes.) I was unnecessarily worried about the bechamel. I didn't taste or feel it on the pizza. This was not something I would ever order again. Not good at all.

    My friend's pepperonata was slightly more successful. Her crust was not as tough, but kind of buttery and moist at the collars, and lacked any sort of breadlike crunch when you bit into it. The toppings, however, were unpleastantly gloppy almost to the point of being underdone, and the pepperoni was so big that it suffered from the same sin as Pizza Mozza's sausage, in that it was too big to eat on the pizza. The pepperoni, however, was very good, probably the best I've had. But the pizza on the whole was not likely to inspire cravings.

    At $10 bucks a pop, these pizzas were small at 8-9 inches. And because the menu offers no appetizers, you're apt to leave hungry. (The sandwiches section are kind of a wash for dinner; first, I didn't see anyone ordering them, and second, you're not likely to order say, a sandwich and a pizza.) And the prices appear to reflect the pricing of organic materials. So after 4 drinks between the two of us, one salad we split at $8, and two pizzas, it was about $71 before tip. Not an inexpensive evening.

    One final comment: Crust's "Eat Real (R)" slogan is emblazoned on its outdoor signage and its menu. I bristle at the idea that a restaurant needs a slogan. It seems so Olive Garden. But setting that aside, because Crust is a certified organic restaurant, it came off as (a) preachy, and (b) pretentious. Hmmm, so if someone doesn't have the cash to shell out for organic foods and/or for these flatbreads, that person is "eating fake?" Given all the press lately to the price of organic foods, and how a good portion of our economy is eliminated financially in partaking in the "organic revolution," the slogan just came off as elitist to me.

    I wish my review could be more positive. This is a place that's close to my neighborhood, I like infused vodkas, I love "pizza," but my meal here was so underwhelming, that I'm not likely to find a reason to return.
  • Post #20 - June 13th, 2007, 12:07 pm
    Post #20 - June 13th, 2007, 12:07 pm Post #20 - June 13th, 2007, 12:07 pm
    The cucumber-infused vodka at Crust is very good, and the tables on the front patio are nicely spaced apart.

    I recently took a class on how to deliver employee performance evaluations, where I learned that difficult messages are best preceded by something positive. So there you go.

    The main problem at Crust is, well, the crust. It's awful. Flavorless, unevenly cooked dough with a make-you-want-to-cough cornmeal dusting on the bottom. It's reminiscent of Papa John's. The toppings are fine, but can I please have ONE choice without béchamel?

    I was really disappointed that the opening date for this place kept getting pushed back. Now I wish they'd taken another few months to figure out how to bake their namesake.
  • Post #21 - July 6th, 2007, 9:18 am
    Post #21 - July 6th, 2007, 9:18 am Post #21 - July 6th, 2007, 9:18 am
    ok i finally went a few weeks ago but forgot to update...

    somewhat let down.

    I had the clambake pizza (though they call it a "flatbread" and say it's the "cousin of pizza" on their menu...). The clam was obviously fresh which gets them points over just about anywhere not in New Haven. The first piece I had was fantastic in fact, mainly due to a bit of red pepper. Then I looked around and think that the chunk of red pepper was mistakenly dropped there. What an odd coincidence, since it's what made me like the pizza. The rest of the pizza just kind of tasted average, parts even bland and soggy. It's a white pizza but could've used a little umph of olive oil sauce. Also, part of my crust was charred so much I was breaking flakes of carbon off so I didn't have to eat it.

    My SO had a Caesar salad and the 4 cheese flatbread with garlic. The caesar salad was several pieces of uncut romaine lettuce topped with bland manchengo cheese, a slice of thin multi grain bread (instead of the usual croutton? fine idea I guess but it was sure bland), and salad dressing that lacked any zip. His pizza was perfectly charred on one side but the other side was raw and tasted doughy. The garlic would have given the pizza more umph if it wasn't completely roasted to sweetness.

    The table next to us actually sent her pizza back because hers was uncoocked, and she requested some sauce to go with it because she said it needed something. At first I thought she was picky but then I understood. (We then had a whole conversation about it with her somehow..)

    The drinks we had were unique and good. I had a blackberry mint julip that was fantastic. SO had grapefruit infused vodka mojito which was also very good.

    The back patio was nice and relaxing. The atmosphere was nice, some of the people were over the top annoying (the lady behind me had her shoes off and her feet propped up on the chair behind me and kept answering her phone loudly whenever it rang). A lady in another table looked like she had just returned from a day of shopping, only problem being her bag had a giant Marshall Fields logo on it from Christmas 2 years ago.

    I give them extra credit for "the whole organic thing" but with just a few tweaks this place would be a lot, lot better. To me right now it's just average with prices that don't reflect that ($60 for 2 flatbread pizzas, a small salad, and 2 drinks is surely above average in price--organic food has its cost I guess). The back patio was nice and relaxing.

    we took our leftovers home. i love cold pizza. this pizza was disgusting after it had gotten cold, we threw it out without eating it.

    Just because things are organic doesn't mean they have to be improperly cooked or taste bland. I live in the area so I'd probably go back but would probably make a few substitions next time. Organic or not, there are more than a few places with better pizza within a mile radius of this place.

    Crust
    2056 W. Division
    Chicago, IL 60622
    (773) 235-5511
  • Post #22 - July 29th, 2007, 4:28 pm
    Post #22 - July 29th, 2007, 4:28 pm Post #22 - July 29th, 2007, 4:28 pm
    Made my inaugural trip to Crust last week and thought it was very tasty, if not exactly transcendant. Here's a look at the space and what we ate. Descriptions are taken directly from the menu . . .

    Image
    Large, contemporary dining room (with bar), which leads to a spacious patio in the back


    Image
    Friendly pizzaiolo


    Image
    Caesar salad
    Romaine, shaved Spanish Manchego, toasted crouton, caesar vinaigrette


    Image
    Tallgrass Beef sandwich
    Wood-roasted Tallgrass beef, horseradish creme fraiche, mayo, tomato, arugula, sweet onion, poilane bread


    Image
    Clambake
    Fresh clams, bechamel, fresh-pulled mozzarella, caramelized onions, wild herbs


    Image
    Italian Sausage
    Sweet Italian sausage, provolone, melted tomatoes


    Image
    B.L.T.
    Slab bacon, beefsteak tomato, Amish blue cheese, tossed baby arugula


    Image
    Flammkuchen
    Slab bacon, caramelized onion, bechamel, caraway seed, cracked black pepper


    Image
    Basilico
    Melted tomatoes, bechamel, fresh-pulled mozzarella, basil


    Image
    Pepperonata
    Melted tomatoes, pepperoni, heirloom peppers, fresh-pulled mozzarella, provolone


    Without question, the favored pie at our table of 6 was the Italian Sausage. I also really enjoyed the Flammkuchen, the Basilico and the Pepperonata, although on the latter, what was listed on the menu as pepperoni tasted more like cured Spanish chorizo (with smoked paprika) to me. The salad, which was not technically a Caesar, was tasty but it leads me to wonder about the entire "organic" designation.

    Perhaps I'm atypical in that the organic designation means pretty much nothing to me. From the very beginning of my hearing about Crust, I wondered why jumping through such hoops was important and after eating at Crust, I'm still not sure, because it doesn't lead directly to a superior product. I'm guessing the choice has to do with developing and capturing some potentially lucrative segment of the market that does care about such things. If that's the case, more power to them but I wonder if they will get there before the difficult-to-fulfill parameters take their toll. From the outside, looking in, it seems that Crust has voluntarily painted itself into a bit of a limiting corner. Time will tell.

    Overall, we had a fine meal at Crust and as I wrote above, many of the flatbreads were delicious. But as good as everything was, I didn't find anything we ate particularly compelling. The flatbreads were distinctive but not to the point where I'm jonesing for any of them. I thought the beef sandwich was tasty -- and the bread was fantastic -- but the construction detracted greatly. Instead of easily managed slices of beef, the sandwich contained assorted-sized nuggets of beef, which fell out from between the bread the moment anyone at the table lifted it. It was unnecessarily challenging to eat.

    I'd definitely eat at Crust again if I were in the neighborhood or with people who cared about the organic designation. But I'm still not certain if I'd go out of my way to do so. As others have posted above, there's plenty of great, compelling pizza served all over this city. For those who geuninely care about organic, Crust is probably going to be a fantastic and welcome resource. For the rest of us, it'll certainly have its place somewhere in the ranks.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #23 - July 30th, 2007, 4:54 am
    Post #23 - July 30th, 2007, 4:54 am Post #23 - July 30th, 2007, 4:54 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I'd definitely eat at Crust again if I were in the neighborhood or with people who cared about the organic designation. But I'm still not certain if I'd go out of my way to do so. As others have posted above, there's plenty of great, compelling pizza served all over this city.

    Ron,

    Having missed Flammkuchen at Christkindlmarkt I am enthused about trying Crust's version, though the general Crust opinions I've heard reflect your experience.

    Tallgrass beef sandwich looks good, nice pictures.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Crust
    2056 W. Division
    Chicago, IL 60622
    773-235-5511
    Last edited by G Wiv on July 30th, 2007, 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #24 - July 30th, 2007, 8:50 am
    Post #24 - July 30th, 2007, 8:50 am Post #24 - July 30th, 2007, 8:50 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Clambake
    Fresh clams, bechamel, fresh-pulled mozzarella, caramelized onions, wild herbs


    ...thanks for the pictures. i wish i would've captured my clambake flatbread in picture format now. because yours and mine looked completely different. i think mine lacked the fresh herbs, or they were baked under the cheese, or something. the herbs that are sprinkled liberally on top of all of your pizzas were nowhere to be found the night we were there. which makes me like the place even less.
  • Post #25 - July 30th, 2007, 10:50 am
    Post #25 - July 30th, 2007, 10:50 am Post #25 - July 30th, 2007, 10:50 am
    dddane wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Clambake
    Fresh clams, bechamel, fresh-pulled mozzarella, caramelized onions, wild herbs


    ...thanks for the pictures. i wish i would've captured my clambake flatbread in picture format now. because yours and mine looked completely different. i think mine lacked the fresh herbs, or they were baked under the cheese, or something. the herbs that are sprinkled liberally on top of all of your pizzas were nowhere to be found the night we were there. which makes me like the place even less.


    Same here generally. My Basilico did not look like Ronnie Suburban's picture. Most notably, the pizza's color was red, lacked any visible cheese, and the crust was more baked on one side than the other. Other "Basilicos" coming out that night looked as mine did. While yours appears to be an improvement over mine, topping-wise, the crusts shown in your pictures are still not to my tastes. They appear too white, and too flat, which look generally like my Basilico's crust tasted, which was tough, unbready and one-dimensional.

    I still take issue with the price -- I thought my pizza was awfully small for the amount charged.*

    *Which is, I surmise, a reflection of a surcharge for the organic ingredients; which goes back to my original point, as well as Ronnie Suburban's, as to whether an upcharge for organic ingredients is worth it.
  • Post #26 - August 3rd, 2007, 9:15 am
    Post #26 - August 3rd, 2007, 9:15 am Post #26 - August 3rd, 2007, 9:15 am
    Ate at Crust last night with the company of my lovely wife.

    We got there and were told we'd be waiting a half hour for a table. Over to the bar we went, where a friendly bartender served me Goose Island and a cherry coke for my wife. Not every bartender is interested in mixing grenadine or cherry juice with coke, so I was happy that she obliged my non-drinking wife.

    We were seated after about a half hour and ordered the Italian sausage flatbread and the ceasar salad.

    We enjoyed the presentation of the ceasar, which looked very much like the pic ronnie_suburban posted. It could have used a bit more grated Parmesan, but I enjoyed that the dressing on the romaine was creamy and had a nice bite to it.

    Our flatbread arrived shortly after that. I was skeptical, but let me tell ya, it was fantastic. The texture was a perfect balance of soft and crispy! The ingredients on top were plentiful and bursting with flavor. Their cheese was heavenly, and the sausage was so moist that it popped in my mouth. The sauce was also something I enjoyed, as it was nicely tart, with obvious chunks of tomato, and specked with pieces of basil.

    I also need to mention the cocktail I had which was a espresso and cardamom infused vodka, served straight up. The flavors were so friggin intense that they left my taste buds in shock. A bit expensive at $9, but I had to try it, and I was definitely happy with my choice.

    Overall, a little pricey, but I chalk that up to the neighborhood. I'd go again, mostly to try more of the flatbreads.
    ~ The username is a long story
  • Post #27 - September 3rd, 2007, 9:15 am
    Post #27 - September 3rd, 2007, 9:15 am Post #27 - September 3rd, 2007, 9:15 am
    Our first go at Crust last night was quite underwhelming. The star of the show was the always enjoyable Pinkus Organic Pilsner. Some of the cocktails were quite good as well- the nectarine caipirinha was refreshing and zesty, though maybe a bit slack in the booze department, as was the watermelon margarita. The real letdown were the flatbreads, overall not quite well done enough for my liking- woodfired pizza should be evident of its high heat preparation- there was very little charring, no bubbles, this was no Coalfire. Topping selections were fine- maybe a bit too California in their scope for me- sweet corn, shrimp, pico de gallo? I had a special "poached tuna" with kalamatas and red onion. The tuna was scant and over-flaked- it seemed canned, which led us to pondering what would be considered organic tuna. The Flammkuchen was definitely the best, though it recalled to mind a post here awhile back about rye crusted pizza- which would make for a really provocative pie with similar toppings. The shrimp/ pico flatbread reminded me of shrimp quesadillas, which is not necessarily a bad thing. The other special of the night a "carbonara" theme was deconstructed into elemental chunks of bacon, peas, and topped with a sunny side up egg which was a pleasant idea and reminded me of pizza in France. However it was not quite as flavorful as the Flammkuchen. All said, we had great service and the back patio made for a lovely late summer evening with good company and drink, but the high tab for a ho-hum eating experience will probably lead me elsewhere next time. Last night is was to the Violet Hour, which easily washed all culinary concerns away. That place is the coolest and I cannot recommend it highly enough, but maybe for another post.
  • Post #28 - September 15th, 2007, 8:43 pm
    Post #28 - September 15th, 2007, 8:43 pm Post #28 - September 15th, 2007, 8:43 pm
    Finally made it out to Crust tonight with a friend of mine. We started with an enjoyable, if kind of unremarkable farm salad--mixed greens, cucumbers, carrots, and grape tomatoes in a balsamic vinaigrette. We also split the Flammkuchen, which we both thought was absurdly good. Whenever I got a bite with a perfect balance of bacon, caramelized onions, and cheese, I caught myself making inadvertent happy noises.

    The real star of the meal, though, was my apple cider and brown sugar-infused vodka cocktail. It tasted like the best cider I've had, only better. I plan to try infusing my own vodka this week, and if I'm successful, I may never sober up again. My friend had the lemongrass and pomegranate cocktail, which was also pretty tasty. We both preferred mine, though.

    I do think I'll go back occasionally, but the prices are a little off-putting to me. Our meal came to just under $50 for the two of us to split the salad, one "flatbread," and two drinks. Yikes.
  • Post #29 - September 16th, 2007, 9:22 am
    Post #29 - September 16th, 2007, 9:22 am Post #29 - September 16th, 2007, 9:22 am
    In the next month Crust plans to unveil a totally organic bi bim bap pizza to the mix. Now this should be tasty.
  • Post #30 - September 17th, 2007, 9:47 am
    Post #30 - September 17th, 2007, 9:47 am Post #30 - September 17th, 2007, 9:47 am
    Can't wait for the risotto and paella pies. Yum.

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