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Restaurant Review: The Crest Gastropub, Parsons Edition

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: The Crest Gastropub, Parsons EditionPhotos by Walker Evans.
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It’s not completely clear what the design motif for the new Crest Gastropub is. Housed in a newer construction on Parsons, it’s not particularly modern decor. Modern typically implies sparse, and the space is deliciously and deeply cluttered with art and lighting installations. It’s not retro or woodsy either.

Maybe it’s Restoration Hardware style. That’s close enough for now. It’s its own little Crest thing.

Whatever the style, the place is teaming with humanity. The concept is going over very well in the Children’s Hospital neighborhood. It doesn’t take long to see why.

The standard welcome beverage at restaurants, water, comes with no ice. Not everybody will dig that, but as someone who is perpetually too cold in the summer and winter months, the dearth of ice is exciting: super exciting. For those who need more serious drinkables, there is a full bar offering local beer, wine and barrel-aged cocktails.

In the edible department, the new Crest has some of the same things from its popular Clintonville menu, and also some new things too — particularly in the small plate arena.

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First up: Fish Croquettes ($10). For those looking to fill a protein void, these are not particularly fishy. Each perfectly fried globe holds a few melty chunks of fish flesh. No complaints, the croquettes themselves boast an impossibly tender crumb inside their crunchy fried shell. They’re served in a puddle of cream that suggests a mild, classic tarter sauce.

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Another option is Banh Mi Sliders ($12). Really, they come off more like pulled pork sliders (so Banh Mi people, be prepared for that). Perky buns are loaded with huge scoops of seasoned pork that‘s garnished with a few token crunchy shredded threads of pickled carrots, radish and onion. It’s excellent on pulled pork standards.

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And then there is the Taco Trio ($12). It’s the favorite of the newbies, not because tacos are trendy, but because the taco platter is a veritable wonderland of flavors and textures. An order yields three tacos, each a complex combination of ingredients. The best one is based on pork belly. The meat is mostly smoky lean (save for one super fatty chunk), and topped with what looked and tasted like fresh-off-the-cob sweet corn, onion and an herby chimichurri sauce to pull it together.

There’s more though. There was a healthy tasting fish taco, topped with slim ribbons of radishes and a cilantro cream sauce. And a beef version with shaved carrots and cilantro topped with an ancho chile salsa that tasted almost java-eque.

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For those who seek the comforts of the original Clintonville menu, there are still plenty of options. It has burgers, for example, in flavors that expand beyond beef into falafel and lamb. The Americana Burger ($16) is a newbie armed with a double stack of meat, a flavorful cheddar, bacon, fried onions and boozy barbecue sauce.

On a side note, server named “James” (or “Jason”?) was frighteningly likeable and engaging in a non-scripted, non-sociopathic way. He makes a connection with guests, without even seeming to try. He wins the unofficial Server of the Year award.

You can find the new Crest at 621 Parsons Ave. It’s open daily for lunch and dinner.

For more information, visit www.thecrestgastropub.com/parsons/.

Photos by Walker Evans. Photos are taken at a different time than review, so discrepancies between photos and review may occur.

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