Crave rolled out the red carpet — literally — on Saturday night as it opened its doors for a sneak preview of its new St. Louis Park outpost. Located in the Shops at West End complex near the intersection of I-394 and Highway 100, the upscale restaurant gave Twin Cities trendsetters an excuse to don their sexiest clothes and sample its “a little bit of this, a little bit of that” fusion cuisine.
With an eclectic menu ranging from sushi to pasta to burgers, it’s no surprise that Crave put a wide selection of dishes out for the hungry partygoers. A sushi bar offered fresh-tasting nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls just steps away from an Italian station with chafing dishes full of cheesy ravioli and creamy, smoky macaroni and cheese. The Asian table, draped in a grass skirt, provided guests with take-out containers of shredded cabbage and vegetable salad upon which they could add tangy stir-fry chicken or prawns.
Highlights included cocktail-shaken salads with bits of gooey goat cheese and savory pine nuts served in martini glasses, specialty drinks like the ginger pear martini, and shot-glass desserts like bread pudding and crème brûlée. The custard offered a surprisingly good orange essence, while the bread pudding would have earned an A+ if only it had been served warm instead of room temperature.
With artful light fixtures, a centrally located, glass-enclosed wine room, and welcoming bar, Crave is a sophisticated addition to a corner of St. Louis Park where you’re used to seeing suburbanites in weekend wear running to Home Depot or Costco. Time will tell if the restaurant is bound to be a metro-wide dining destination or merely a convenient choice when shopping or attending a movie in the complex. But one thing is for sure — you won’t find any sweatpants here.
Crave at the Shops at West End, located at 1603 West End Blvd. in St. Louis Park, will be open for lunch, dinner, and brunch beginning today.