About Cru Cafe

18 Pinckney Street
Charleston, SC 29401
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It's the Holy City's Hidden Gem! Cru Café is Charleston's home to some of the best gourmet comfort food in the Lowcountry. Cru Café is the culinary creation of renowned Le Cordon Bleu graduate, Chef John Zucker. Opened in 2002 in response to overwhelming demand, Cru Café is a culinary destination off the beaten path in in a classic 18th century Charleston single-style home. Cru Café and its award-winning Cru Catering division are consistently ranked as top eateries by locals and tourists alike. From our famous Four Cheese Macaroni to our tasty Thai Seafood Risotto, we feature something for everyone. And if you're in the mood for lighter fare, try our Chinese Chicken Salad or Duck Confit Salad. Guests of the restaurant can enjoy daily specials, indoor and outdoor porch seating, a wine list tailored to the varied menu and rich, mouthwatering desserts. We invite to stop in and enjoy a delicious meal with us today.

Dining Style:
Casual Dining

Cuisines:
Comfort Food, Fusion / Eclectic, Southern

Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday - Saturday: 11:00am - 3:00pm; Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm, Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 11:00pm

Cross Street:
East Bay St

Dress Code:
Casual Dress

Price Range:
$30 and under

Payment Options
AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa

Phone Number:
(843) 534-2434

Website:
http://www.crucafe.com/

Entertainment:
Private Upstairs Dinning Room available for up to 18 people.

Catering:
Voted Charleston's best caterer consecutively since 2001 by the Charleston City Paper, our Cru Catering branch offers full service customized catering, in-house personal chefs, corporate catering, receptions, weddings and private parties. Please contact us at 843-534-2433.
www.crucatering.com

Parking Details:
Cru Cafe does NOT offer parking. The gravel lot across the street is owned and operated by Palmetto Carriage Company. There is a public parking deck located off Pinckney Street behind the Bank of America building. The address is 200 Meeting Street.

Executive Chef:
John Zucker

Additional:
Banquet, Beer, Cafe, Chef's Table, Counter Seating, Farm to Table, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Outdoor Smoking Area, Private Room, Takeout, Wine

Restaurant Photos

Fried Calamari
C.A.B. New York Strip
Slow Braised Bone In Lamb Shank With Mediterranean Couscous, Feta Pistachios And Mint
Allagash White
Victory Prima Pils
Saratoga Sparkling Water
Smoked Salmon, Capers And Arugula
Duck
Salmon Tartare
Beef Bolognese
strawberry shortcake
Chinese Chicken Salad
Cheeseburger
Mesclun Salad With Fried Goat Cheese Balls
General Tso's Chicken Caesar Wrap
Fried Green Tomatoes With Pork Belly Croutons
Barbeque Beef Brisket & Four Cheese Macaroni
Grilled Portabello Sandwich
Berkshire Pulled Pork Burrata With Mozzarella
tomato and mozzerella
General Tso's Chicken
Duck Confit Arugula Salad
General Tso's Chicken Caeser Wrap With Truffle Fries
Coconut Fried Oysters
Tilefish Special
Bbq Brisket Sandwich With Mac And Cheese
Poblano And Mozzarella Fried Chicken
Pan-Seared Tilapia With Tasso Ham Okra Stew
Fried Green Tomatoes
Basil Marinated Shrimp
Orange Rosemary Bread
Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Gnocchi
Orange Sherbert Cake
Four Cheese Macaroni
Butter Lettuce Salad
Portobello Wrap With Fruit
Double Cheeseburger
Napa Cabbage Asian Salad
Pecan Fried Brie
Pablano And Mozzorella Fried Chicken
Special
Carrot, Coconut And Ginger Soup
Tilapia

Cru Cafe Ratings and Reviews

5
4
3
2
1

4.7

Overall Rating

based on recent ratings
food

4.7

service

4.7

ambience

4.3

value

4.4

noise

Moderate

97% would recommend it to a friend

Loved For

Best Value
South Carolina
Great for Lunch
South Carolina
Best Overall
Charleston
2 More
Best Food
Charleston
Best Value
Charleston
Best Restaurants in Downtown Charleston ›

Fit for Foodies (180)
Neighborhood Gem (152)
Great for Lunch (132)
See All
Special Occasion (87)
Great for Outdoor Dining (52)
Romantic (49)
Hot Spot (40)
Great for Brunch (35)
Local Ingredients (24)
Creative Cuisine (24)
Casual (22)
Good for a Date (20)
Comfort Food (20)
Cozy (19)
Open Kitchen (18)
Good for Groups (17)
Kid-friendly (16)
Worth the Drive (16)
Notable Wine List (16)
Authentic (14)
Fun (11)
Historic (10)
Good for Anniversaries (8)
Quiet Conversation (8)
Good for Birthdays (8)
Outstanding Value (7)
Late-night Find (6)
Sunday Lunch (5)
Scenic View (4)
Quick Bite (4)
Healthy (3)
Good Vegetarian Options (3)
Great Beer (2)
Vibrant Bar Scene (2)
Seasonal (2)
Tasting Menu (2)
Tapas (1)
Business Meals (1)
Pre/post Theatre (1)
Vegan (1)
Gluten Free Options (1)
Afternoon Coffee (1)
Happy Hour (1)
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This place was impressive! I ordered the ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined 3 days ago

This place was impressive! I ordered the pork special which came with veggies- every mouthful was mind blowing. My husband ordered the scallops (another winner) and added mashed potatoes. These potatoes tasted like my grandmother's! We were so full we hesitated on dessert but the orange cake with the cream cheese frosting was heavenly. My husband and I shared but he admitted he's never seen me "finish dessert" in 8 years! Definitely returning one day!

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

A "neighborhood" gem if you can call a r ...

 
 (Minneapolis)
·Dined 4 days ago

A "neighborhood" gem if you can call a restaurant in the historic district a neighborhood place. Portions are generous, service is outstanding and the food is wonderfully prepared. We shared the fried green tomatoes small plate and the Thai seafood risotto which were excellent. The specials looked great.

Tags: Authentic, Casual, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Eating here brought me to tears! It was ...

 
 (Milwaukee)
·Dined 4 days ago

Eating here brought me to tears! It was close-your- eyes good! Casual atmosphere with personable service and scrumptious food. So glad we chose CRU!!!

Tags: Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience5
service5
value4

Was a recommendation of a friend who liv ...

 
 (New Orleans)
·Dined 4 days ago

Was a recommendation of a friend who lived there. The food was excellent. Really liked the fried green tomato appetizer. It's a small quaint place. Fun time!

Tags: Comfort Food, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

We visit Cru Cafe on every trip to Charl ...

 
 (Washington DC)
·Dined 4 days ago

We visit Cru Cafe on every trip to Charleston. Excellent food and service.

Tags: Comfort Food, Hot Spot, Local Ingredients, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

One of the best meals we have had anywhe ...

 
 (Pinehurst)
·Dined 5 days ago

One of the best meals we have had anywhere, esp. Charleston. Fish (drum) preparation was perfect and flavor combinations were well chosen. Definitely one of the best restaurants in town.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Historic, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Great sandwiches . The bread was deli ...

 
 (Chicago)
·Dined 5 days ago

Great sandwiches . The bread was delish! The fries were crisp, thin shoestring type - a side is enough to share.

Tags: Fun
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

The fried green tomatoes are the best.

vip
 (Baltimore)
·Dined 6 days ago

The fried green tomatoes are the best.

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food4
ambience3
service4

Attentive staff--servers and manager. D ...

 
 (New England)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

Attentive staff--servers and manager. Delicious food. Small restaurant so enjoy the coziness of fellow diners.

Tags: Fit for Foodies, Cozy, Creative Cuisine
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food4
ambience3
service4
value3

My husband and I have been to Cru many t ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

My husband and I have been to Cru many times over the past few years. We dine here every time we visit Charleston, which is several times a year. The menu features something for every palate. My husband always orders the garlic chicken club. I always try something different, but this visit I tried the turkey and avocado, which was awesome. Be sure to upgrade your side to the truffle fries - they are the best I've ever had. Don't skip dessert - try the dreamsicle cake! Nate and his crew rock.

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Cozy, Comfort Food, Great Beer, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

We had a 2:45 reservation Saturday after ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

We had a 2:45 reservation Saturday afternoon on 9-17. We arrived at 2:15 hoping to be seated early but they were very busy. The fellow that we checked in with was rushed and told us he would try to get us seated by our reservation time but didn't sound hopeful. We sat outside while we waited and were subjected to the smoke drifting over from the smoker in the side yard. Unpleasant. We went inside about 2:40 and checked in with him and were seated about 10 minutes later. We had the sweetest waitress! She was very helpful with the menu and prompt with our drinks and food. We had burgers and truffle fries. Mine was the special-a Mediterranean burger that was outstanding and the truffle fries were the highlight! The only downside was that we felt so

crowded in because the tables are so close together and the noise level was almost painful.

Tags: Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

My husband and I came for lunch, our mea ...

 
 (Charlotte)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

My husband and I came for lunch, our meal was WONDERFUL !!!!!!

Tags: Good for Birthdays, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Great for Lunch, Casual, Romantic, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for a Date, Kid-friendly, Historic, Worth the Drive, Tasting Menu, Fun, Creative Cuisine, Special Occasion
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

I have always had a wonderful experience ...

 
 (Charlotte)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

I have always had a wonderful experience at Cru Cafe - reservations recommended!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Casual, Neighborhood Gem, Open Kitchen
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food4
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service4
value4

Excellent food, service, wonderful eveni ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 17, 2016

Excellent food, service, wonderful evening. Our 9:30 reservation was absolutely perfect, my husband and I could not have asked for a more perfect anniversary dinner.

Tags: Great Beer, Great for Outdoor Dining, Quiet Conversation, Creative Cuisine, Romantic, Historic
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I have visited Charleston dozens of time ...

 
 (Phoenix)
·Dined on September 16, 2016

I have visited Charleston dozens of times, but have somehow not eaten at Cru Cafe! I was on a girl's trip and was looking for a great lunch spot and somewhere I had not yet been. After reading the reviews, Cru Cafe seemed like the obvious choice. I didn't know this at the time, but it is located right by the carriage tours which we happened to be doing that morning.

Right off the bat, the host exuded Charleston hospitality. He was a master multitasker and handled the constant flow of traffic flawlessly. They sat us about 15 minutes later than our reservation time due to a lingering bachelorette group. We were seated at a community table with one other person which was a little awkward at first (since there were 6 of us and 1 of him) but it turned out to be totally fine.

They sent out an order of truffle fries which were to die for. We also ordered the Fried Green Tomatoes with Pork Belly and Smoked Tomato Jam- the perfect combination of fried and sweet. We each ordered different dishes for lunch and everyone was beyond satisfied. Order the mac & cheese for the table- you won't regret it!

Our server was very sweet and attentive. In a spot as busy as Cru, staying on top of a 6-person table can be challenging, but our waters were always filled and dirty dishes cleared.

I will definitely be going back!

Tags: Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Hot Spot
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fantastic lunch!

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 15, 2016

Fantastic lunch!

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food5
ambience5
service5

We went there in the pouring rain from t ...

 
 (San Diego)
·Dined on September 14, 2016

We went there in the pouring rain from the hurricane on 9/14/2016. Definitely worth the drive through flooded streets. Great food, very fair priced wine and beer list, and a very friendly attentive waitress. Took our grand daughter and friend who attend college there. Hope to return when she graduates. Only mild negative was noise level for me, but I have to wear hearing aid and noise was magnified.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

The service staff is outstanding. Top no ...

 
 (Greensboro)
·Dined on September 14, 2016

The service staff is outstanding. Top notch waitress with pink bangs😉

Tags: Hot Spot, Authentic, Worth the Drive, Casual, Open Kitchen, Good for a Date, Neighborhood Gem
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food4
ambience4
service5
value4

Outstanding food and service. We'll def ...

 
 (Dallas)
·Dined on September 13, 2016

Outstanding food and service. We'll definitely keep this restaurant on the rotation.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem
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food5
ambience4
service5
value4

Absolute amazing dining experience. Cann ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 11, 2016

Absolute amazing dining experience. Cannot recommend highly enough.

Tags: Open Kitchen, Good for Birthdays, Outstanding Value, Good for Anniversaries, Comfort Food, Fit for Foodies, Good for a Date, Good Vegetarian Options, Great for Outdoor Dining, Neighborhood Gem, Special Occasion, Local Ingredients, Quiet Conversation, Worth the Drive, Casual, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Fabulous menu and meal. My wife had Thai ...

 
 (Dallas)
·Dined on September 11, 2016

Fabulous menu and meal. My wife had Thai Seafood Risotto and I had the Nantucket Bay Scallops. Both dishes were cooked perfectly and to die for! Highly recommend this place!

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food5
ambience4
service5

Our server Carrie was fantastic! I book ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 10, 2016

Our server Carrie was fantastic! I booked a reservation for lunch here for some out of town guests, and the food didn't disappoint!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Sunday Lunch, Authentic, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I am glad that we had a reservation beca ...

 
 (Alabama)
·Dined on September 10, 2016

I am glad that we had a reservation because we heard many turned away for lunch on Saturday. The food was delicious. The host and waitresseswerefriendly. We were seated near the front door, so it was a bit noisy but still enjoyable for my party of eight. We were also seated near the kitchen, which is rather open, and I heard the manager (or perhaps it was the head chef) berate the staff. I felt somewhat embarrassed for them. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend Cru Cafe for excellent cuisine!

Tags: Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Local Ingredients, Great for Outdoor Dining
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food5
ambience3
service4
value4

Lovely birthday dinner! Great food, perf ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

Lovely birthday dinner! Great food, perfect setting at the community table for a larger group.

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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

The food was amazing! The wait staff was ...

 
 (Atlanta)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

The food was amazing! The wait staff was extremely friendly and smiled all the time (especially Fawn). Highly recommended even in the food mecca of Charleston. Casual with typical Charleston prices but highend exceptional food, great atmosphere and super friendly staff.

Visit Charleston often and have tried many of the well known restaurants.

We will be back on next visit!

Tags: Pre/post Theatre, Local Ingredients, Great for Outdoor Dining, Good for a Date, Open Kitchen, Cozy, Good for Anniversaries, Special Occasion, Romantic, Creative Cuisine
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Excellent as usual!! We don't ever go to ...

 
 (Raleigh)
·Dined on September 9, 2016

Excellent as usual!! We don't ever go to Charleston without eating here!!

Tags: Open Kitchen, Outstanding Value, Casual, Local Ingredients, Creative Cuisine, Worth the Drive
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food5
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service5
value5

Just off the crazy tourist Market strip ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 6, 2016

Just off the crazy tourist Market strip is an extraordinary little restaurant that doesn't take itself too seriously -- just your food and a kicked-back time. The atmosphere is kind of elbow-to-elbow. It's loud. When we went there on a weeknight at 5:45 (the only time we could get!!!), the place had a baby at every table! When the tables changed a half hour later, it was a mix of older tourist foursomes and childless couples. More importantly, the food is imaginative, with good portions and by downtown Charleston restaurants an extreme value. The dishes -- other than the truffle fries that almost every table ordered!!! -- can be characterized as delicately flavored (in the good way) in that you could appreciate the seafood itself. The pairing with a delicate giant scallop with kielbasa and spaetzel is a good example. Our waiter Jonny was great and his in-tow shadow likewise friendly and knowledgeable. The Italian wine special at $20 was delicious. If you are looking for that "special occasion," go to S.N.O.B. or Fig. For some relaxed dining, great food and money left over, Cru is a must.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Historic, Kid-friendly, Casual, Creative Cuisine, Outstanding Value, Tapas, Fit for Foodies
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food5
ambience3
service5
value5

Great food and ambience

 
 (Las Vegas)
·Dined on September 6, 2016

Great food and ambience

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food5
ambience5
service4
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Cru Café is our "go to" spot when we hav ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 6, 2016

Cru Café is our "go to" spot when we have visitors and are showing them the best of Charleston. It's small so reservations are a must even for lunch, but it's so worth it. The food is an eclectic mix of updated favorites. I'm not a big mac and cheese fan, but theirs is outstanding . Our server was pleasant, friendly, and efficient (which is tough because the room is packed). Highly highly recommend this fun and tasty establishment.

Tags: Worth the Drive, Neighborhood Gem, Fit for Foodies, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Open Kitchen, Sunday Lunch, Comfort Food, Great for Brunch, Outstanding Value, Great for Lunch, Authentic, Cozy, Casual, Fun
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food5
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service5
value5

I have eaten here at least 5 times now. ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 3, 2016

I have eaten here at least 5 times now. This restaurant is on our agenda at least once on every single visit to Charleston. The food is outstanding, (and I mean everything on the menu), the staff is super nice, the prices are reasonable. Make sure to just go ahead and make a reservation. Like all Charleston restaurants, it gets crowded (tiny place) with quite a wait.

Tags: Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Brunch, Casual, Fit for Foodies, Great for Lunch, Good for a Date, Fun, Kid-friendly, Historic, Sunday Lunch, Cozy, Comfort Food, Worth the Drive
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food5
ambience4
service4
value5

Excellent meal at the chefs table

 
 (Dallas)
·Dined on September 2, 2016

Excellent meal at the chefs table

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food5
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service5
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Loved the place. The fried oyster saled ...

 
 (Western NC)
·Dined on September 1, 2016

Loved the place. The fried oyster saled was awsume and would get it as a meal next time. My wife's shrimp and paste was great. We will be back

Tags: Worth the Drive, Cozy, Good for a Date, Casual
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food4
ambience5
service5
value4

Food is always great at Cru, although th ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on September 1, 2016

Food is always great at Cru, although the wait is always long weather a reservation is made or not, and the to -go orders always take 10 min longer than expected.

Tags: Great for Lunch
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food5
ambience3
service5
value4

This used to be our favorite restaurant ...

 
 (Charlotte)
·Dined on August 31, 2016

This used to be our favorite restaurant in Charleston. Unfortunately, it seems the quality (service and food) has gone downhill but the prices keep going up.

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food4
ambience3
service3
value3

Superb as always. Brought friends who w ...

vip
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 30, 2016

Superb as always. Brought friends who were in Charleston to attend an organization reunion gathering. I had been bragging to them about how great Charleston cuisine is. Cru served outstanding meals. My fiends were truly impressed.

Tags: Comfort Food, Local Ingredients, Neighborhood Gem, Great for Lunch
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food5
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service5
value5

Two of our party had short ribs, I had s ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 30, 2016

Two of our party had short ribs, I had salmon. Both were great. Fried green tomatoes were excellent as always. We all shared bread pudding and the orange sherbet cake. Everything was excellent. Just wish they had a liquor license for something other than wine and beer.

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food5
ambience5
service5

Always such wonderful food and pleasant ...

vip
 (New York Area)
·Dined on August 30, 2016

Always such wonderful food and pleasant environment

Tags: Romantic, Fun, Cozy, Special Occasion, Good for a Date, Good for Anniversaries
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food5
ambience4
service5
value5

CruCafe was a very nice date for us- cel ...

 
 (San Diego)
·Dined on August 28, 2016

CruCafe was a very nice date for us- celebrating a promotion. The food was excellent- started with mesclun goat cheese salad, then for entrees we had the duck and Thai seafood risotto. Enough good things cannot possibly be said about the risotto. Our server, Johnnie, was wonderful and very fun.

Tags: Good for a Date, Creative Cuisine, Quiet Conversation, Local Ingredients
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

I've never had a bad experience here. I' ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 26, 2016

I've never had a bad experience here. I've been an occasional regular for the last 4.5 years, and the service and food has NEVER disappointed. If you want quality food, with a nod to all arenas of types of food, then this is the spot for you. Not without their southern staples, the mac'n'cheese is a must try! It is my go-to spot when I have guests in town, and my first recommendation for anyone who wants to know where to eat.

Tags: Outstanding Value, Authentic, Good for a Date, Worth the Drive, Special Occasion, Great for Lunch, Comfort Food
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

Our dining experience was fantastic. 3 ...

 
 (South Carolina)
·Dined on August 26, 2016

Our dining experience was fantastic. 3 in our party had the fish of the day and they all said it was mild and flaky and very delicious. I had the beef short ribs and they were also delicious. We had bread puddy for dessert and it did not disappoint. Excellent service. Would highly recommend.

Tags: Quiet Conversation, Cozy
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food5
ambience5
service5
value5

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