Friday, January 15, 2010
Charley's Crab, 63 Market St SW - 1/10/10
It’s been at least 15 years since we’ve been to Charley's Crab. The name occasionally pops up and on a whim we decided to try the Sunday brunch. The fear with going to what is/was a landmark restaurant is that it lives on based on name and longevity, or its view, and that substance and quality will be in short supply. So we were pleasantly surprised. We were seated away from the other clusters of patrons (and yes, we hate being seated on top of other people when there is space available). Service was polite and informative. Our table was outside the bar area and by a window providing a wintery view of the river. The “main” dining room was a little darker and more congested but our seating was light, open and airy; a charming setting in which to dine.
The brunch was expansively laid out and contained some non-seafood items to keep everyone happy. Having lived on Long Island and with frequent visits to Louisiana, we are particular about seafood and are hesitant ordering it in the Midwest (that strong fishy taste indicates fish is not fresh, Midwesterners). But Charlie’s Crab does it right. Fresh shrimp, crab legs, and steamed mussels were great. Sushi was good quality (only one bad bite) and cold salmon with dill was on the edge with fishiness flavor. All the other usual suspects were present: cut fruit, breadstuffs, eggs & bacon, lettuce salad fixings, desert table, and much more. The Eggs Benedict were better than some we’ve had freshly prepared. Shrimp Primavera was also notable. The Insalata Caprese was a failure with soggy tomatoes, too little basil, and not-fresh Mozzarella, but that was the exception. Also available are an omelette bar and prime rib table.
Brunch is $21.95/person, and Mimosas and Bloody Marys are available for $3.50. The service was exceptional in a lovely setting. As a side note, there are now 12 Muer Seafood Restaurants around the country (7 in Michigan). So maybe it’s not strictly a local restaurant anymore but at least it’s “locally grown”.