The experience

It was another busy day for Team Phipps.  Benji was still asleep at Lala’s house and we needed to hit the mall (I wanted to buy some gifts from the Disney store for upcoming birthday parties that Mina has been invited to), and buy fish for Ogre and Mina’s fish tank (Mina wanted to get what I thought was “a,” meaning ONE fish for Papa for Father’s Day…they came home with a 14 gallon tank).   Anyway, we decided that after the mall, we’d better eat, lest we have a fish fry in the car.  Over the weekend, when Ogre and Mina went to the tea party, he saw that Urban Crust was FINALLY open!  We’ve been waiting for this place to open, it seems like, for months! 

We walked in and were told it would be a 30 minute wait.  Ogre kind of laughed and said, “Really?  Is there anyone else waiting?”  She said no, but that their guests sometimes like to hang out after.  We could see that there were a couple of tables that already had their to go boxes, so we said we’d just wait.  The hostess kept pushing us to hold a pager even though we said we weren’t going anywhere.  She even suggested that we walk around outside (it was still, oh, 98 degrees outside).  I told her that all the stores were closed.  Ogre finally gave in and took the pager.  We waited and were greeted (twice) by some guy named Omar who looked to be very important with his earpiece.  I think he forgot that he’d already welcomed us when he walked by a second time.  Then the Chef Partner came by and said hello and welcome and offered Mina a Shirley Temple who happily accepted.  This was brought down in short order.  They won some brownie points there.

We only had to wait about 10 minutes before we were seated.  We ordered drinks and an appetizer.  Ogre had been curious about the bread on other tables the whole time and we did not get any.  After we ordered our dinner, he said that he didn’t see it on the menu  and thought that they’d forgotten.  We asked the waitress about it and she asked us if we wanted another basket.  That’s when we told her that we never got any!  She brought that about the same time that we got the calamari, so everyone was happy.

photo

Our pizza came out after a little bit, but they brought out Mina’s pasta wrong (you know by now that she likes her penne “naked” with the sauce on the side).  When our waitress came over to check on us, she noticed right away and took it back to have them make another.  Unfortunately, we had not yet noticed that our pizzas weren’t quite right either.  Ogre ordered sun dried tomatoes and got fresh.  I did not think my pizza had goat cheese on it.  She took both the pizza back, but came back with mine saying that the kitchen “swore” they put the goat cheese on it.  I told her that if there was goat cheese on it then it wasn’t worth the money because I couldn’t taste it, but I would eat it anyway.

They came back with Ogre’s pizza and we had a couple more important looking people come by.  I told one of the guys about my goat cheese complaint.  He said he’d pass it on.  He seemed very nice, but something was a miss with his hearing.  He called Ogre (Josh), Jeff and I corrected him before he came to shake my hand as that is kind of a pet peeve, then he called me “Grease” -I’m not kidding, but even he thought that would be a little ridiculous after it came out of his mouth because he asked me to repeat it (then he got it right) and then he called Mina “Amanda.”  Mina must get peeved, too, but she said, “NO! It’s MINA.”  Ha ha.  

This guy told us about all their kid friendly plans and about the ice bar upstairs, so I told Ogre to take Mina up there and check it out.  They went upstairs and then I heard, “Grace!”  I look up to the second floor and see our next door neighbor!  I think she was out with her girlfriends, so we chatted for a sec. 

While Ogre was gone, I also mentioned to the Omar guy who came by AGAIN to make sure everything was okay.  I just can’t bite my tongue.  He seemed genuinely interested in my comments and a few moments later, I thought he was coming by with some free ice cream for Mina.  No, it was piles of goat cheese.  It still makes me laugh.  Their goat cheese was mild, but still very good.  It really made me think they forgot the goat cheese.  I even suggested to him that perhaps they smear it on there so the flavor is very mild, but he didn’t think they did. 

Ogre said that the ice bar thing was frost and/or snow type stuff on top of the bar.  This guy said you could make a snowball off the ice…I’m skeptical, but who knows…we’ll have to see the next time!

I showed Ogre my piles of goat cheese and we added it on to our remaining slices of pizza (it makes it a thousand times better).  We ordered dessert and got a to go box (which, by the way, are wicked huge).

We had to request some extra spoons for dessert (they only brought one) and all dug in. Yummy!  After we settled the tab, we headed on to buy our sacrificial fish…

 

The food

Wood-fired pizza, salads, pastas, and a few other things.

photoWe ordered the calamari to start, which was actually pretty good!  The breading was light and not too greasy.  The calmari was thinly sliced and not chewy.  We all enjoyed it with the marinara and aioli served with it.

 

photoI ordered a 12 inch pizza with proscuitto, sun dried tomatoes, and goat cheese.  The sun dried tomatoes and proscuitto were great.  There is a still a lot of debate as to wether there was really any goat cheese on it.  All I can say is that if there was, it wasn’t enough.  When Omar brought me the pile of goat cheese to try and I put it on  my last slice of pizza, it made quite the difference…tasted much, much better!

photoOgre ordered a pizza with olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and truffle oil . His biggest complaint was that there didn’t seem to be enough of the toppings on there, particularly when they suggested no more than three toppings and that they weren’t very evenly distributed.  Overall, though, he thought it was  a pretty good pizza.

photoMina ordered pasta with marinara sauce (no big surprise!).  She liked it.  They have a really good marinara sauce here and their pasta was definitely al dente!

 

 

We also went ahead and ordered the Gelato Affogato for dessert (I love this at Nicola’s).  It was excellent here.  They use a hazelnut gelato which adds a rich flavor without heaviness.  The espresso they use was also very good.  I wish I could have eaten more, but I try to avoid caffeine when I’m pregnant. 

 

The service

I think there are some growing pains, so I’m going to cut them some slack.  Particularly since I think every single one of the partners and/or managers came over to check on things and were very responsive when I told them my thoughts.  The hostess told us that she overestimated our wait time so we wouldn’t be mad if it were longer, but I hope they’re not running off potential customers with a “30 minute wait” that is only 10 minutes.  We had to flag our waitress down a few times, but I assume they’re still getting their bearings.  They definitely get an “A” for effort.  We’ll definitely be back, so I hope that things will improve!

 

The kids

They don’t have a kids menu, but when I asked about getting pasta for Mina, our waitress made it seem like that would not be a problem.  I just remembered now that another table seemed to have some dough to play with but we were not offered that, so I’m not sure if that was standard fare.  No kids activites, but one of the manager-types came up and chatted with us for a bit and told us that it was going to be more kid-friendly (without us telling him who we were!) in the next couple months as they will be having a balloon artist come and that the kids will be able to play upstairs in the early afternoon where they have the “ice bar.”

I think this place has a lot of potential.  I’m excited to see how things develop!  We’ll defnitely be back and we’d love to hear how others are experiencing this new find in historic downtown Plano

 

Rants, Raves, and Ramblings

This is a two story restaurant and it’s kind of weird how they have it set up because they have glass so you can see the second floor, which is really only half of the building -the rest just opens to the first floor.  Anyway, they have bar seating that kind of ends above the middle of the restaurant with some wooden hatching under the bar-height counter where people eat.  There is a table in the middle of the restaurant and every time food falls from the second floor it would land on their table.  This happened pretty frequently because there was toddler seated up there -I think she was probably dropping food on purpuse.  I also thought you might could see up dresses and skirts from below.  Thus, I’ve named the middle part of the restaurant “the danger zone” and probably won’t eat at the bar height counter when I’m wearing a skirt!!

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