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November 12, 2007

Crown Bar Review

I was really excited to be checking out Crown Bar which recently opened on 6th Avenue. Owned and operated by the same team that handles my favorite Tacoma restaurant, Primo Grill, there was no way this could be a bad experience, right?

Wrong.

Since it was a Friday night (November 2nd), I assumed it would be difficult to get a table, however, at 7:30 during the Dia Day Los Muertos procession down 6th Ave. myself and Cassioposa walked right in and were seated. There were a couple other free tables, but the small bar was full. We ordered a couple of beers; mine a European Apple beer was fantastic, but at $8.50 a bottle I wasn't going to drink more than one.

When we were joined by a third, we ordered up the bratwurst, grilled bread, and curry ketchup appetizer. The grilled bread was delicious, the curry ketchup sweet and a little bit spicy, and the bratwurst was average. There was an agreement at our table that an appetizer of the grilled bread alone would be a great addition to the menu, as we all loved it, and could have taken or left the bratwurst.

When it came to ordering dinner, I chose the much-talked-about Jerry Stokes berry's buttermilk fried chicken, butter braised local greens and substituted the garlic mashed potatoes with the goat cheese olive campfire potatoes. Cassie had the Cougar gold mac and cheese.

Disappointment reigned over dinner. My fried chicken arrived hot from the fryer, but was bland and tasteless. It seemed as through there were no spices in the mix at all. On the contrary, Cassie sampled her mac and cheese, finding surprising peppercorns as she swallowed her few bites. My "greens" were a soggy, greasy mess of chard that was almost inedible.

I did enjoy the potatoes that were yummily mixed with goat cheese and green olives. They made up the majority of my dinner, as I hardly any of the chicken or chard.

The topper was a cocktail for Cassie that tasted like Windex mixed with rubbing alcohol. It claimed to be some sort of martini, but after we all sampled the blue concoction, it was proclaimed to be the worst drink ever mixed. The nearly full glass was left on the table with the majority of our dinners.

After tip our bill was over $100 and I felt ripped off. For "street food" this is enormously expensive. We had two beers, one cocktail, one appetizer, and two meals.

All but one table was empty when we left at 9:30PM. A bad sign.

I really, really wanted wanted to like Crown Bar. But the concept and the execution don't seem to mesh very well. And...well, are you a bar or a restaurant? If you're a bar serving street food, should your bill be a hundred bucks after eating there? And if you're a restaurant, can you get the rowdy people at the bar to stop screaming and yelling, and to quit leaning over my table and listening to my conversations? It's highly distracting and annoying. I'm also not thrilled with the decor (seriously - the silver fireplace rock? It's hideous), but I see what you're going for.

The food is the biggest issue though - if the food is good I'll sit through bad drinks, high prices, weird decor, and drunk guys leaning over my plate. Unfortunately, it's not.

Posted by Ensie at November 12, 2007 02:48 PM

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Thanks for posting this, I hate paying a big stack o' money for disappointing food. Looking at the menu did make me wonder about "street food" and those prices.

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Hey, that's what I like. Disappointment, no. kidding. '-) Truth. It hurts. But how can we improve without constructive criticism!?

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