These are cold and blustery times. Times of chill and loneliness. These are soup days. At vertigo recently lunch has consisted of quarts of miso accompanied by spring rolls and hot mustard. And yet some of us get cravings for something more. Andrew's particular craving was "lobster bisque, or some sort of chowder." My car being newly liberated, this poses no challenge, and off we go to find some creamed fish goo. Andrew's first thought was Bonefish Grill, but I don't care for E. Paris as my ex-therapist worker there and there are all sorts of associations. Also, the roads suck and why drive if you don't have too? So we went to Charlie's Crab, feeling very "ladies who lunch." There are floor-to-ceiling mirrors as you walk into the Crab, and apparently Andrew caught a glimpse of himself walking in and thought "man, that dude's got great style!" His ego thus petted, we made our way to a table by the window. That's pretty much the perk of the Crab. The foods okay, but watching ice-flows on the river gives me a great Shakelton's Voyage sort of feeling. Unfortunately, The Crab doesn't serve penguin. Granted, the bisque was lovely, very think and creamy, with a brilliant orange color and sizable chunks of lobster flesh. The portion size seemed small, especially for $8 a bowl, but I couldn't finish mine, so I shouldn't whine. Andrew and I each had a bowl of the stuff, then we shared an appetizer of Coconut Macadamia Nut Crusted Shrimp with a Sweet Thai Chili Butter. This dish was hugely disappointing. The shrimp may or may not have been tender, I just couldn't tell under a tough crust of slightly burned nut. Coconut flavor was conspicuously absent, as was chili in the sauce. Andrew was happy with the niblets of mango scattered about the plate, but I found fault with their obvious deficiencies in texture and flavor. Limp as they were, they provided textural contrast to the rough, hard shrimp, but that could not be counted as a good thing. Charlie's Crab irritated me on this visit. The food was mediocre. The shrimp dish seemed like something the chef (junior line cook?) saw in a trade magazine and thought "sounds like a boost to the ol' profit margin!" I disliked the service too, which was almost disruptively awkward. Really high-end service, the kind Charlie's Crab tried to give, necessitates a grace and a flow. If the server lacks either an intuitive understanding of a table's needs, or the attitude to convince the table of the properness of her movements, the rules of fine serving seem stilted and bothersome. Andrew and I had a fine lunch, but a lunch that costs $30 plus tip when you've skimped on ordering feels like a rip-off if it is describable as "fine." Next time i get a mopey winter soup craving I'll be taking my butterfat elsewhere.
yada yada yada, I Had the Lobster Bisque.