I had high hopes the day I brought a visiting vegetarian and pals to Crave 11025, a boutique-y looking new veg-friendly restaurant in Great Neck. The place had shown lots of promise at breakfast only a few weeks earlier, when I'd been especially impressed by a goat cheese and caramelized onion omelet. Now, it was time for lunch.
There appeared to be no manager that very hot day, and the crew (both in the kitchen and the dining room) seemed cast adrift.
A dish called “Russian potato salad Olivieh created by French chef, Mr. Lucien Olivieh, Russia CTR 1860,” at $14, translated into a pretty ordinary potato salad wrap. Floridly (but not helpfully) described, it was starchy and overpriced.
I ordered something called the “Robyn salad,” at $17, a mixed chopped salad topped with what the menu said was “house tuna.”
“Is that pan seared tuna?” I asked the waiter. “It’s a scoop,” he said. “Of tuna salad?”
“The salad is underneath the tuna,” was his answer. “I need to know whether the item on top of the chopped salad is tuna salad,” I pressed. “It’s a scoop," was his answer. "Who's on first?" I wanted so to ask.
When the Robyn salad came, it was indeed topped with tuna salad — nicely scooped but dry and unappealingly tangy. The decoratively arranged avocado had gone from green to brown.
But a side dish of crumb-topped macaroni and cheese was delicious. Also very good was a lively grilled Caribbean bean wrap, at $14. Best of all was the least expensive choice ($12), a delectable (but very small) grilled portobello mushroom panino with feta and spicy chipotle mayo, accompanied by the excellent spicy-sweet "house fries."
As one of my guests aptly commented: "Everything here is so random."
Crave 11025 is at 68 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-482-4800.
Breakfast on a better day: goat cheese and caramelized onion omelet with "house fries."