Satisfy Your CRAVEings in The Cape

I honestly didn't expect to be writing you a post on Cape Vincent. I've been attending the French Festival parade in The Cape for years with my Miss Thousand Islands contestants, and the food scene there has always seemed...meager. There's the cute coffee shop, the fabulous pottery shop, Chateau, and the general store, but the restaurants were, for years, more bars than eateries.

Last year, CRAVE opened right on E. Broadway in the heart of this gorgeous waterfront village, and I'm fairly certain the entire hamlet's resident rejoiced. I had to go for myself and check it out.

CRAVE's website boasts comfort food and crafty cocktails. When we visited, I wasn't presented a cocktail menu, but we enjoyed some comforting foods that were on the creative side, and for that, we rejoiced as well. I started my meal with a Caesar salad replete with homemade dressing and bowtie pasta. The dressing was on the milder side, with neither a pronounced anchovy nor parmesan flavor, but there was plenty of the grated cheese on top to compensate for that salty, nutty flavor. The pasta mixed in with the romaine lettuce leant a chewy texture to the salad, though the croutons were a little stale.

Even before the salad came, our table was graced with a little plate of focaccia squares accompanied by a small dish of garlic oil and one of roasted garlic. They explained the delicious scent of garlic that we could smell as soon as we parked outside the building. The bread was airy and moist, and the roasted garlic smeared on top made this a savory/sweet starter.

One of the fish choices on deck the night we visited was tuna, which we tried blackened, with cole slaw and sweet potato fries. The tuna was cooked just to order (medium rare), and the blackening spice served some assertive salinity and heat. The sweet potato fries and cooling slaw were actually perfecgt foils for the spicy fish, and I have to tell you: the portion size was huge. The entrée was $15, and that piece of fish was flawlessly textured and probably a full six ounces, cooked.

The chicken curry is, simply, a work of art. Okay, okay. It actually looks like a hot mess in the bowl, I admit that, but if you put a bite in your mouth, you will taste the symphony hiding in the chaos. The coconut curry sauce was rich and complex, the veggies were crisp-tender, and the chicken was juicy and tender. I would order this dish again in a heartbeat.

The veal osso bucco arrived with a pleasing shank bone stick out of the bowl. You guys know how I love caveman food. There were plenty of baby carrots in the rich "sangria" demi glace sauce, but I did feel that the sauce could have used a hit of acid right before service, with a sprinkle of sea salt over the meat. It was tender, delicious, but just a hair on the flat side, with all the sweetness of the carrots in there.

I predict that the key lime pie at CRAVE will be a famous dish throughout the Northcountry by the end of this summer. First of all, again, the portion is gigantic. It's almost a whole pie! The graham cracker crust is thick and sweet, the lime filling is tart enough to just pucker your mouth, and there's tons of whipped cream on top and served around the plate. You have got to get your hands on this dessert.

The chocolate soufflé was no slouch, either. Deep and dark, this flourless cake was still light, and not too sweet. There was richness to it without heaviness, which is the mark of a skilled pastry chef.

I will warn you that the charming front dining room at CRAVE is sunny and casually elegant, but also extremely noisy when the restaurant is busy. There are almost no soft surfaces in the room to absorb sound, so if you have trouble with background noise, you may want to sit out on the back deck. Other than that fact, we thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at this new darling of the TI region, and we intend to return for more good eats.

I give CRAVE an eight on the BHS scale, and I hope you can make the drive up to Cape Vincent to try it out yourself this summer! Who woulda thunk it - great food, right in The Cape? My hunger is big; my personality is bigger!

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to try Crave ! I hear The Coal Docks is pretty good too !