The night my mother and I went to Crave for dinner, it had been a bit of a long day. My mother works for a labor union that’s been trying to get her fired for about two years if not longer, due to her activism within the union that represents employees of the first union, such as herself (I know, it’s unionception), as well as the fact that she seems to be the only one who still remembers what labor unions are supposed to do: represent their members against the members’ employers, instead of going out to dinner or conferences on the members’ dime.
As you can imagine, this is not an easy work environment. My day hadn’t been as hard: I’d been dealing with some negative mood crap and mental health stuff in general, and some of my multiple sclerosis symptoms like back pain and stiffness had come back, too. However, I had tried to run our dishwasher and come back to find the kitchen floor covered in suds, some of which had leaked into our already-still-damp-from-the-last-leak basement, just in time for Mom to get home from her aforementioned long and stressful day.
We managed to get the kitchen clean and dry, and decided that even if the electric stove wasn’t possibly damp and dangerous, we still would have needed to go out for dinner. One drive into the city and police pullover later (we had a headlight out, and it was the end of the month, so quotas), and we were weaving through droves of college students, heading to parties and buying weed in front of a corner tobacco store, to the very popular Crave.
Crave is another one of those “hipster fast food” places I’ve talked about before. I’m not automatically opposed to this food craze, since I really like burgers, and it’s always interesting to see what different restaurants do with it. In Crave’s case, it was the addition of frozen yogurt, which unfortunately we didn’t end up sampling, since we were too full after our dinner.
We ordered from a menu that included sandwiches with homemade chips, featured burgers with flavors that included curry, sausage and rabe, truffle, and Kung Pao shrimp plus a “build your own” option, plus sides like fried green tomato, fried pickle, and crispy shrimp, and various types of loaded fries, which is another weakness of mine. We both got Crave burgers with cheese, and an order of the truffle fries to split.
The Crave burgers tasted good overall – like real beef and not frozen-style “Smashburger” patties – and mine was well-cooked: medium rare and not charred on the outside. And juicy – maybe a little too juicy. The burgers were greasy; every time I picked mine up, my hands were coated, with grease and juice dripping down my hand and wrist, and I must have gone through ten napkins at least. This might not have been an issue for someone without the sensory issues I have, but for me, it was just a bit too off-putting for me to immediately rush back for another. My sensory issues also posed a problem with the acoustics of the restaurant’s dining room – it was such that a table of college students across from ours laughing and chatting made it hard for us to hear each other.
The “Crave sauce” seemed to be a watery (maybe due to the burger’s grease) version of thousand island dressing, maybe with additional seasoning. The truffle fries were much more memorable, with truffle aioli, truffle oil, parmesan cheese, and rosemary. At first, I wasn’t sure about the truffle and parmesan combination – I know it’s become classic, but the truffle and parmesan have similar flavors, and at first they blended together for me. However, the more I tasted, the more I began to enjoy the fries, especially in combination with the leftover Crave sauce and ketchup. If I went back to Crave, it would most likely be to try more loaded fry dishes, maybe along with a sandwich of theirs or their fried shrimp, and maybe some of their frozen yogurt.
Crave doesn’t seem to quite have the distinctive brand of Five Guys or In’n’Out Burger, but that may come with time, and it’s popular thanks to its location in a college area, and the obvious thought and effort generally put into its food, which was overall tasty. Time will tell whether it has the staying power of Five Guys, or falls prey to burger market oversaturation.