Sunday, May 09, 2010

CRAVE - Bloomington (Mall of America)

Crave opened in the former California Cafe space about a year ago on the 3rd floor of the Mall of America. This is one of 3 Crave locations in the Minneapolis area plus another in Orlando. The very large, open space is accented in subdued tones of copper, brown and gold. It features a huge open kitchen, a sushi bar, and a floor-to-ceiling glass octagon wine cellar near the front door. Kudos for the soothing background music that encourages conversation while dining!

Heather, my very friendly server, recommended the brunch. It is an incredible value at $16. The extensive list of all-you-can-eat brunch options includes: a mimosa (only 1 is included), fluffy scrambled eggs with smoked Tillamook cheese, smoked ham, thick slices of applewood smoked bacon, crispy skinned sausage links that pop under the pressure of a fork,
homemade buttery hash browns, wheat toast & jam, fresh fruit bowl of melon, blackberries, strawberries, pineapple, and oranges and finally... sticky buns. If that is not enough, there is a French toast bar and a made-to-order omelet bar. An amazing start to a day of shopping!

I recommend the management implement a system to let the bus boys know when their guests are at the French toast or omelet bar. I went to get an omelet and returned to find that my table had been cleared and reset for their next guests. A waiter rushed over to ask if he could assist; I explained what had happened. He apologized, reseated me, and brought another mimosa and a bowl of the fresh fruit. Great recovery! This could be a major snafu if guests go to the omelet bar and return to find other guests seated at their table. They might consider using a marker system similar to Fugo de Chao.

With 45 sushi selections on the menu, I observed as many guests eating sushi as were eating the brunch. On my next visit, I will be at the sushi bar.

The tables for 2 are too close. I was tempted on several occasions to join the conversation at the next table; at one point, a guest was commenting on how much she enjoyed the sushi but she could not figure out what the thin "pink slices" were on her plate. I wanted to tell her, but I didn't.

Crave is a comfortable, upscale casual eatery. Those behind this restaurant have developed a reputation in the city for being better than average. They also own "The View" near Lake Calhoun - another of my favorites! If you do find yourself at the Mall of America, be certain to visit Crave.

Mmm... Mmm...





$ 10

$$ 20

$$$ 30

$$$$ 40+


+ Stop bothering me!

++ Anyone here?

+++ Stopped when in the area.

++++ As needed and friendly.

+++++ Invisibly perfect!


& “One visit too many!”

&& “Convince me!”

&&& “I’ll be back!”

&&&& “Same table next week!”