I took my husband to dinner at Crush last night for his birthday. We're both serious foodies, but had somehow not managed to make it to this Nationally acclaimed hip little spot in Madison Valley yet. Now, to be clear, a night out without our daughter always gives us a rosey glow, regardless, and staring in his baby blues makes all else irrelevant, BUT, I was not totally blown away by my CRUSH experience.
We had a 9:00 reservation, so the crowds that others have mentioned weren't an issue, but, I did feel a but like a set-piece from the wrong play when I walked in. The black-and-white-only decor is so overly stylized and stilted that it is hard to find a psychologically comfortable spot to feel like you belong in there. Everything - from light sconces to plates to molded plastic chairs - is curvy and white. It's a bit oppressive in its intentionally contrived statement of conformation. And the hostess was extremely snooty and unpleasant.
That said, many of those objections quickly melted away when we sat at the bar to wait for our table and the bar server was so friendly and smiley and delivered us great wine (in ridiculously oversized and over styled glasses) along with a plate of olives to munch on.
Our table was upstairs in a lovely corner. It would have been terribly romantic if all the black and white details hadn't kept staring at me and making me feel like a bad typo on a page with too many words. (Really, would a little bit of art, or maybe even just flowers, have been too much to ask?)
Once we settled in, I will say, we had, easily, the best meal and best service I've ever had in this city. Barre none. We did the tasting menu, which was sensational at every turn. From Jerusalem artichoke soup with grated apples, to true cod with pork cheeks, a beet salad and pork tenderloin with cheese grits. I nearly cried at the masterfully blended and somehow understated flavors that are still with me this morning. Finished with a melty-in-the-middle chocolate cake that nearly brought tears to my eyes. Our server was impeccable - she was polite, smart, funny, kind, attentive without being lurchy.
All in all, if the ambiance had been better, we would be back in a heart beat. BUT, I just don't like feeling like a prop in a play that was written for someone else. So, if you need to impress your boss or an out of town guest, or want a romantic dinner that you won't soon forget, I'd go to Crush. (AND WEAR RED!) But if you just want a really nice dinner out, I'd go just about anywhere else. Even though it was the best food I've had in ages, I'm in no rush to return to Crush.