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Restaurant Review: The Crest Gastropub

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: The Crest GastropubPhoto by Walker Evans.
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The Crest Gastropub is swarming with customers. They’re everywhere, sitting at the bar, perched on the patio, standing around… standing in the parking lot waiting to get inside the joint.

You can’t blame them, really. It’s a beautiful island on Indianola: an airy, rustic-slash-industrial spot with a big list of beers. Who wouldn’t want to go hang out?

The menu of the The Crest Gastropub is a land of adventure. There are some really good things, and some things that turn out not-so-good. No one in the throngs seems to mind much. They just look happy to be there.

Good news first. The Grilled Rustic Caesar ($9) is binge-worthy. You can probably predict that reaction, based on the fact that the lettuce is grilled, and grilling is a pretty good thing to do to any edible.

You might expect the lettuce to have little brown hash marks, but that’d be wrong. Instead, the grilling blackens the green leafy bits at the tippy-top of a heart of romaine. All wilty, they taste of carbon deliciousness, and the grilled wonder is teamed with some sort of savory reddish dressing and parmesan. Brilliant.

The Crest Burger ($9) is also solid. Served with seasoned fries, the burger has winning toppings with soft, carmelized onions and mushrooms, plus swiss and some roasted tomato.

On to the mixed lots.

Consider The Rueben Burger ($10). The burger arrives sandwiched between slices of cute, swirly rye bread. It’s nice, as far as burgers go; topped with a braised slaw of red and white cabbage that’s swimming in a lavish supply of melted Swiss… but the “house-made corned beef” (mentioned on the menu) was difficult to find. Unless it was ground up with the burger, or julienned with the cabbage, the corned beef was MIA.

The cabbage burger was still pretty okay.

The Quinoa Salad ($9) would be good for someone who likes straight, cold quinoa. A. Lot. A molded pile of the grain sits atop beet slices. The pile has exactly two lady-bug sized chunks of asparagus in it, and lots of quartered tomatoes. Correction: maybe it’s best for people who like quinoa and tomatoes and beets, together. A. Lot.

The appetizer section has the same sort of yin-yang thing happening. Big love for the Mini-burgers ($9): the kitchen has the whole burger scene down pat.

On the other hand, the Mediterranean Plate ($8) offers 3 dips in three colors (hummus, eggplant and black bean hummus). They all have the same texture and similar flavors: not very fun.

No matter how mixed the results are, the neighborhood seems to love this place. It’s got terrific ambiance, and there’s beer. All that’s worth checking out just for the grilled Romaine thing and maybe a burger. Open since mid-April, the kitchen can still be a little slow, but the rhythm should improve as time goes by.

The Crest Gastropub is located at 2855 Indianola Avenue in Clintonville. It’s open every day from 3pm until 1am -and it’s been testing out some brunch weekends, with a special early menu and an 11am opening time on the brunch days.

More information can be found at www.facebook.com/TheCrestGastropub.

Photos by Walker Evans.

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