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Dinner at Crush Wine Bar


Last week was quite busy from a dining out perspective. After FRANK and Loire earlier in the week, I ended up at Crush Wine Bar as well.  While not trendy, I have found that Crush puts out solid food. Service is always good too. The wine list has plenty of interesting selections but also offers corkage ($25 per bottle). Proper wine service includes appropriate stemware for whatever is ordered, wines being decanted if necessary, etc.

Crush charcuterie board

Crush charcuterie board

My dining companions each started with the Crush charcuterie board. The cured meats are all sourced from Niagara while the pork rillettes were made in house. They were served at the right temperature as well (unlike at Loire the night before when they were too cold coming out of the kitchen) and immediately spreadable.

Crispy sweetbreads, sauce Gribiche, apple remoulade

Crispy sweetbreads, sauce Gribiche, apple remoulade

I started with the crispy sweetbreads. They were well cooked with an excellent textural contrast between the crispy fried outside and the creamy interior. It was lacking a little seasoning however, as if someone forgot to salt the sweetbreads when they came out of the fryer. Adding salt after the fact just isn’t the same. The apple remoulade was nice.

Grilled striploin steak with braised shallots and pan jus

Grilled striploin steak with braised shallots and pan jus

Roast loin of lamb, rapini, artichoke puree

Roast loin of lamb, rapini, artichoke puree

Moving on to the entrees, one person had the steak while the others (myself included) had the loin of lamb. Well-cooked piece of beef with a solid jus. The lamb was very good. Cooked medium-rare as requested, it was very tender and had a good sear on it. Mmm … Maillard reactions. Rapini is one of my favourite greens and always welcome on my plate. Mom would be so proud that we decided to order a side of veggies to go with the main courses:

Roasted vegetables

Roasted vegetables

Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream

Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream

This was the second time I’ve ordered the sticky toffee pudding and both times it was quite enjoyable. It’s not as rich as many others I’ve had – and that’s a good thing. The cake is served warm, containing plenty of baking spices, a not-too-heavy caramel, and a lovely vanilla ice cream.

As for wine, I brought along a couple bottles to go with the meal. We started with a bottle of 2006 Sottimano Langhe Nebbiolo that needed way more than the couple hours of air it saw. Sottimano’s Langhe Nebbiolo is a Barbaresco in everything but name. It’s a single vineyard bottling from Basarin that most producers would label as Barbaresco. The winery doesn’t believe that the vines are old enough to produce as complex a wine as their other Barbarescos at this point and therefore they declassify to Langhe Nebbiolo. What does that mean? Quality Nebbiolo at a pretty reasonable sticker price.

This was followed by a consistently good bottle of 1999 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Mazzano. A single vineyard Amarone, it was showing some mature notes of nuts and leather in addition to the usual chocolate and Christmas cake notes. No rush, but I suggest drinking over the next 5 years.

  • 1999 Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Mazzano – Italy, Veneto, Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico (9/24/2009)Opaque purple/black colour. Thick legs that stain the glass. Massive nose of prunes, chocolate covered cherries, Glosette raisins, dark chocolate, black licorice, clove, and allspice. Full-bodied with replays from nose as well as Christmas cake and nuts. Moderate-finish, 30-35s, with alcohol, leather, Christmas cake, salted caramel, and walnut notes. Drinking well now. Consume over the next 5 years. 75% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Molinara. (92 pts.)
4 Comments leave one →
  1. J. Schrieder permalink
    2009/10/02 9:25 PM


    I have followed your posts for some time on the WS forums.

    Anyhow, this blog of yours may be the best food & wine blog I have seen. I have seen hundreds.

    Please keepe up the good work. It’s inspiring. Honestly, I am too tired to adequately express how much I have enjoyed your blog, having read the entire thing from the first post. Beautiful stuff.

  2. futronic permalink*
    2009/10/05 12:50 PM


    Thanks for your very positive comments! I’ll do my best to keep posting at this level. It’s been a lot of fun so far (and tasty at that). Hopefully you haven’t been reading on an empty stomach.

  3. 2009/10/05 9:00 PM

    I have to agree with you about Crush. I have always found their food to be quite good. I have yet to try Loire but will hopefully do so in the next few days. Have you had a chance to try Splendido since Carlo and Victor took over?
    If you ever get down to Kitchener-Waterloo, let me know as we do blind tastings weekly and love to have a reason to pull out some nice bottles for a high end tasting from our cellars.
    Great blog!

    • futronic permalink*
      2009/10/09 7:36 AM

      I haven’t been to Splendido since the change, but have heard good things. When I walked past after Loire, the restaurant was busy and that was good to see. I have a friend that works there but haven’t had a chance to check in with him.

      If I get to K-W I’ll let you know. Thanks for the positive feedback – I hope you keep reading!

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