Last Saturday night, Richard and I went to Amuse and happened to notice quite a bit of traffic headed toward another restaurant in the very same strip mall. That restaurant was Crust. I had seen some reviews of Crust previously but hadn’t realized it was oh so close to where we live. They seemed to be getting quite the business, so Richard and I knew we had to check it out.
We went today for lunch, and wow – I am so glad we did! This is a relatively new restaurant, and it has a very nice ambience both inside and on the patio. We were immediately greeted by the hostess who gave us our choice of tables inside or on the patio. Even though it was hot outside, we chose the patio and with the breeze blowing, it was actually quite delightful.
Our server, Denise, arrived right away and took our drink orders. We had one of the wines on tap – a Cabernet Sauvignon at a reasonable $6 per glass. We were a bit taken aback when the wine arrived in non-traditional glasses, but figured maybe they were going for a rustic approach. And we were fine with it. The wine was quite tasty and it was so nice to sit back and relax on the nice patio. Our table was right beside a fireplace which would be quite nice in the fall and wintertime (we’ll keep that in mind for future reference).
The menu has nice variety, with plenty of pizzas as well as pastas and entrees. Richard and I both went with one of the lunch sandwich offerings. After talking with Denise about her recommendations, I went with the prosciutto, parmigiana-reggiano, arugula and pickled veggies panini. Richard ordered the bacon meatball hero, served with romaine and roasted tomatoes and aioli. Our lunch sandwiches came with our choice of minestrone or salad. I opted for the salad, while Richard requested the minestrone.
While we waited for our entrees, we were asked if we would like bread and of course Richard said yes. Right out came a basket of good, fresh bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. I didn’t try any but Richard ate it all up. He said that the bread had a good taste but the crust was a little soft for him (he’s a big fan of hard-crusted bread).
Our sandwiches soon arrived, and they looked just great on the plate! Richard’s minestrone was good, hearty, and rich, with “big taste” (in his words). He said that the sandwich was excellent, with very complex taste. He just loved the bread and said it was as good as any bread you would get in a pizza shop in New York City (his hometown). He couldn’t necessarily make out the bacon it the sandwich, but he said that it may just be it was part of the whole conglomeration of big, complex tastes. As you can tell, he loved this sandwich!
I was equally impressed with my meal. The salad was wonderfully fresh, with a nice, light dressing and what appeared to be crisp, homemade croutons (gotta love that attention to detail!). My panini sandwich had just the right amount of prosciutto, and was a great combo of tastes. I ate up every single bite on my plate.
Of course, it was now dessert time and we will always welcome a dessert menu at our table. Richard initially ordered the chocolate gelato but they were out, so he opted instead for the coffee gelato. I went with the ricotta cheesecake. Both of our desserts were out shortly, and once again they were beautifully presented. Richard is actually not a coffee drinker, but he was a big fan of this coffee gelato and his words were “every single person who comes here should order this!”. He said that this gelato had a very rich and big taste and was (per his words) “a dessert circus in your mouth”. I personally am more of a fan of heavy, rich cream cheese cheesecake (as opposed to ricotta cheesecake) but hey – this is an Italian restaurant. While I still prefer the cream cheese kind, I will say that Crust’s ricotta cheesecake was very nice. It was creamy with a good crumb crust and yummy berries and berry sauce served alongside. It made for a delicious ending to my meal.
All in all, we were very pleased with our meal at Crust. We loved the atmosphere, and our server, Denise, was excellent throughout out the meal (and she brought out the check immediately when I asked for it. Yeah! Love that!). The food also was excellent. We were very surprised that this restaurant has received some negative reviews. Of course, it is relatively new and perhaps on those occasions they were still working out some of the kinks. But from what we saw, all was good and we look forward to more meals on that lovely patio.
Crust is located on the west side at 5860 N. Mesa, El Paso, TX 79912