I will stop hating on Crave. At least, during lunch time.
My dad treated me to lunch at Crave this week since he had a gift card to the Mall of America and was curious about Crave. I remembered seeing mention of a $9.95 sushi bento box lunch special during my last visit and looked forward to ordering it.
We were seated immedietly in my favorite people-watching section and I ordered green tea to start. Our waiter brought a perfectly steeped pot of fruity green tea. With success, I quickly yanked the steeping container from the teapot to avoid bitterness. I ordered the bento special while my dad ordered chicken stir fry.
After a short wait I recieved my heaping bento box that contained three pieces each of plain cucumber, tuna, salmon, and yellowtail sushi, fresh fruit including red grapes, orange, and pineapple, two birdnests of vegetable tempura, and a mixed green salad.
The sushi was plain, but I liked the texture of the rice and the fish tasted fresh. Nothing tasted fishy and none of the fish contained fiberous or mushy textures. The fruit tasted firm and fresh. I really enjoyed the green salad which included a few slices of red onion and a sesame dressing. Often, I find Asian-inspired dressings to be too cloyingly sweet or seasoned with sesame oil. I liked the balance of this dressing and found it addictive.
The tempura vegetables reminded me of the old Trader Joe tempura birdnests. However, they were like larger, denser, torpedo versions. A little greasy and unwieldy, and the insides were less crunchy than the outside, but still tasty. I wished the bento included some mild tempura dipping sauce like the versions found at other Japanese restaurants. Overall, I was surprised at how much food I recieved for $9.95 and was satisfied with the flavors and freshness of ingredients.
My dad was pleased with his Chicken Stir Fry, $13.95, so much so that he finished his meal. I was able to try a few bites. The vegetables were fresh, not overcooked, and had some nice caramelization. The sauce was pretty balanced as in not cloyingly sweet, not too much sesame oil, not too salty, just a tad bit spicy. There were many slices of boneless, skinless chicken breast. The chicken tasted fine, but was a tad bit dry. All in all though, I felt Crave made a decent chicken stir fry.
On the way home, I stopped by Swensen’s ice cream for a small Yogen Fruz topped with soft pieces of mochi and fresh raspberries. I noticed another Korean-style frozen yogurt shop. Has anyone tried it yet?