Spitzit’s House

Where serious topics come to relax

Restaurant Review – Cru Wine Bar – Plano

dsc03798Cru Wine Bar actually has three locations in the Dallas area that include the West Village on McKinney Ave., On Legacy in Plano, and on Market Street in Allen.

My first experience was at the West Village location in Dallas with a group of friends which we really enjoyed, and therefore I was looking forward to visiting the Legacy location in Plano with the same group. I had been planning on writing a review and the recent visit on Friday November 7th was just the reminder I needed. Brace yourself, because this will be a very mixed review ranging from one extreme to the other.

So what do you want first…the good news or the bad news?

Bad news it is…picture-020

I will be perfectly blunt…this recent experience was hands down, the very worst service I have ever had in any restaurant, bar, or hotel I have ever been in. To be clear, bad service can come in a few different categories of bad ranging from an absentee or slow server, to screwed up orders, etc. But this one was the worst kind…RUDE. The service we received on this evening was apalling, pretentious, and just plain disgusting. Every visit she made to our table left the whole table discussing her attitude for the next several minutes.

At the end of our evening, she refused to break the bill up citing some lame excuse, and left 9 peoplcru-14-fondue_1752e puttering over a receipt to only find out later that the receipt was wrong because an errant flight of wine had been added to our tab that no one ordered. The order did get removed, but not before stating that this was her only table and somehow implying that the mistake must be ours, like we would be trying to steal a $15 flight of wine on a $350 tab. Then there was the case of her inserting herself into the middle of a private conversation that two of the ladies from our party were having with two gentlemen of interest at the bar. In guy-speak we call this “…blocking”. In the middle of these specific situations was just the consistently overwhelming attitude of inconvenience and condescension that she shared very generously with our group.

To be fair, our party thoroughly enjoyed all of the cheese flights, several of the wine flights, and my wife and I had the Kobe steak which was OK but not great. In fact, I will go so far as to say that the wine selection and cheese flights are well above average, but can be slightly pricey which is not a problem at all…if your are receiving the service that is commensurate. cru-18-kobebeef_1751

We really consider Cru to be one of our favorite places to meet with friends. However, the service in general at the West Village is not what I would categorize as spectacular. It is average at best…which is fine. However, our first visit to the Legacy location proved to be a memorable one and one for the record books.

If you have a taste for good wine and good cheese with friends and you enjoy it all being served to you by a world-class pretentious bitch who does everything but outright tell you she would rather be doing anything but being your server, then the Cru Wine Bar at Legacy in Plano may be the place for you. Hopefully, our experience was an isolated one.

That is my sober opinion…and all the wine and cheese in Cru couldn’t change it.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Restaurant Review – Love and War in Texas in Plano – dinner

Yes, that is the name of the restaurant…Love and War in Texas (LAWIT). It is a mouthful and so is the food. Located in Plano, TX, at the corner of 75 and E. Plano Parkway, LAWIT had somehow managed to escape our attention for quite sometime. After reading a small write up on the restaurant in a local magazine, it sounded like something unique and we decided to give it a shot last Friday evening. Fact is, I really gave it more than a shot…I over-shot. Let me explain.

The restaurant menu is based strictly on cuisine that the great state of Texas is famous for, and is then divided into the five regions of the state.

The West Texas Plains – Famous for its sprawling ranches and cattle country, this section of the menu is where you will order steaks such as T-bones, Filets, Ribeye, Strips, etc.

The Hill Country – Famous for its hunting and wild game, this section of the menu offers up wild game entrees such as Texas Nilguy Antelope, Venison, Quail, and wild boar.

The Border – the region where true Tex-Mex was born, you can order up classic dishes such as fajitas, enchiladas, tamales, and stuffed peppers.

The Gulf Coast – This section caters to seafood lovers with Blue Crab stuffed Portabellas, Fish Tacos, shrimp, oysters, and so on…

East Texas Piney Woods – No Texas menu is complete without chicken fried steak, fried chicken, catfish, and barbequed baby back ribs.

Obviously, I can’t eat everything on the menu…but I was sure as hell going to give it my best shot. Therefore to start we ordered the “Waltz Across Texas” appetizer which would give us a little taste from each of the regions. Problem is, it wasn’t little at all. At about $14, this appetizer plate could have been a full meal for two people. They do not skimp on the portions at all and I should have known that going in…this is a restaurant themed on Texas after all and everything is big here. This gynormous appetizer plate included Wild Boar Quesadillas, chicken flautas, fried green beans, and Beaumont Bugs (fried crawfish tails). All of it was unbelievably delicious and I could not stop stuffing my face with food. I have never had wild boar, and the meat in these quesadillas was incredibly tender and tasty. The chicken flautas, fried green beans, and crawfish were all excellent and we, mostly me, ate every single bit of it. Our waiter, Todd, tried to take the plate on a couple of occasions and I refused to let it go as I continued to graze on it while I ate my entree.

Being in an adventurous mood for food I decided to go for the Hill Country section of the menu where I ordered the “The Hunt” which was a mixed grill including an Antelope Filet, smoked venison sausage, and grilled quail. I substituted the garlic mashed taters for what turned out to be a humongous fully loaded baked potato and the Texas Caviar for the smoked corn on the cob. The antelope was extremely tender and juicy, the venison sausage was a little bit tough around the edges like smoked sausage often is, but still excellent, and the quail was…messy to eat just like it always is. Nothing like biting tiny morsels of meat off the tiny little bones of a tiny grilled bird. The smoked corn on the cob was fantastic as well. I don’t know what else to say except that I ate it all whilst washing it down with a Shiner Bock and felt damn good about it. My wife had the Blue Crab stuffed Portabella which I also had a taste of and like everything else, it was just another paradise on a plate.

For a dessert, I went with my staple fave, Peach Cobbler with a scoop of vanilla. After everything else, the cobbler was just the proverbial final straw that may make the camel explode in the restaurant. As we walked back to car, I decided that I would not be able to drive home…not because I drank too much, but rather because I felt like I had eaten a basketball. I had eaten so much that I could feel my stomach stretching and complaining ‘dude, you are going to have run a lot of miles and fast for a week to make up for this meal’.

Part of me was ashamed for slamming down so many groceries it would make Dom Delouise blush…but I couldn’t help it. When the food is good, you eat and forget about being full until you are walking to the car. Then it hits you, and you feel like blacking out from a euphoric food overdose. It was worth it though and we will definitely be back. The service was good, the food was outstanding, and I can’t wait to go back.

Also, for those of you that like live music, they have an awesome outdoor patio area where live bands perform on the weekend. The music was good from what we heard when we were leaving, and it looked like a real party happening out there. We will try it out on the next visit.

This is all just my radical opinion and I am sticking with it…because I could barely move after eating here.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review – Mimi’s Cafe in Allen Texas – Breakfast

Evidently Mimi’s Cafe is a chain of restaurants specializing in “Homecooking” breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. I will admit that the location in Allen, TX appears to be a pretty popular breakfast destination on the weekends. I have never dined here for any other meals than the weekend breakfast craving, so I have no opinion on the other menu items.

The atmosphere is good and the service is decent, but the food is just average at best. My personal order on my most recent visit was the country fried steak breakfast, which came with potatos, a muffin, two eggs, and a juice. I substituted a biscuit with gravy instead of a muffin, and proceeded to dig in. The country fried steak is your run of the mill “frozen” entree that can be purchased in bulk at most wholesale warehouses such as Sam’s or Costco. No big deal, unless you were expecting one of the more delicious varieties of country fried steak that you find at better restaurants such as Cracker Barrel, etc. For a better price, you could have got the same or similar steak from a Grandy’s, a road side Pitt Grill, or your local high school cafeteria.

The red potatoes were good, as was the biscuit and gravy. Eggs were slightly cold, but that is normal for eggs as they cool off pretty quick. Breakfast food is really hard to screw up unless you are just really awful in the kitchen, so the overall was not bad. Needless to say, I ate every bit of what was on my plate, and have no complaints of being sick…but I am not saluting it as the best breakfast food I have ever had either.

My wife had the French toast and the kids ate the pancakes without complaint or raves. It was a little pricey for the very average quality, which is really the bottom line of this review. I am sure we will be back, as we enjoy eating weekend breakfasts out, but for now our standing favorites are Cracker Barrel, Ozona, and Cafe Brazil. Mimi’s doesn’t really rank either way but I would not deter anyone from trying it out. It is a 3 of 5 stars on the Spitzometer.

September 22, 2008 Posted by | Restaurants & Dining | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments