The suburbs and malls go together like cities and hipster coffee shops. Growing up in rural New Jersey, I’m pretty well versed in not only navigating the ‘burbs, but also, the malls. When we were young, my grandmother used to work at the Clinique counter at a nearby mall. Sometimes, after soccer practice, we would scurry over to her counter, in our cleats and shin guards, so we could try on all her products. Suffice it to say, I was on a strict skin care regimen by age 12.
The one thing I’ve always hated about malls though, is the lack of good dining options. Don’t get me wrong, I love an Auntie Anne’s pretzel every now and again, but after a day of power shopping, sometimes you just need a leisurely sit-down meal, with entrees that don’t defy your entire day’s worth of calories in one dish.
When the owners of Crave, an Asian American restaurant located in the Montgomery Mall, invited us in for brunch, I was reluctant for aforementioned reasons. Turns out, some of the best sushi in the DC metro area is being served in (gasp!) a mall.
I rounded up five of my friends, who are always down for an adventure–a.k.a. trekking to Bethesda (see, such city girls). We slipped into a cozy booth, and immediately ordered a round of mimosas and one Bloody Mary, for my sister who always has to be difficult, I mean, different. We waited for our drinks, caught up on last night’s adventures, and tried not to whack each other with the oversized menus.
We ordered a plethora of appetizers, and dug in immediately. Unfortunately, the first bite of my meal was of guacamole so cold it literally burnt our mouths. It was definitely frozen, so we referred to it as Avocado ice cream for the rest of the meal.
Luckily, the meal only went up from here. The dumplings were deliciously crispy and the pork was seasoned well. We wished there was more to go around, but we each had exactly one, knowing the amount of food that was about to descend on us.
I have an addiction to ahi tuna, causing me to order it every time I see it on a menu. So when the Tuna poke arrived I was the first to dig in. The heap of fresh, full-sized chunks of tuna, with a side of crispy wontons, my favorite accompaniment, did not disappoint.
As you can tell, there was no rhyme or reason to any of the dishes we ordered (or the Crave menu for that matter), so I’m not going to pretend like it was normal to bounce from poke tuna to doughnut holes. But while we’re at it, the doughnut holes were decadent and deep fried. You could taste the grease ooze out with each bite. They reminded me of a compact funnel cake soaked in warm Nutella. In a good way.
And then there was the sushi. Not only do they bring you hot towels to clean your hands before the course comes out, but I can honestly say this was some of the freshest and most inventive sushi I’ve had in the DC metro area. The shrimp tempura was so light and airy, and the sauce was the perfect addition to the roll. The Aloha roll comprised tuna, mango and had an unexpected, but welcome kick to the aftertaste.
In the mood for a lighter dish, Allee put us all to shame and ordered the Crave chicken salad which came with crispy chicken tenders on top of perfectly dressed mixed greens. It was a truly satisfying salad.
I ordered the corned beef hash, which ended up being the perfect hangover dish. The corned beef came topped with a fried egg and was served with a side of potatoes, which were decent but nothing memorable.
Meg was visiting for the weekend and thus decided to go with a more locally inspired dish, the crab and shrimp Benedict. The crab cake actually served as the bread, so it was a lighter version of the traditional brunch dish and very tasty. Although she wasn’t able to finish the whole dish, she suggested it would be a great option for someone who wanted to share.
After devouring about five sushi varietals, Maddie decided she needed more raw fish in her life, and went with the tuna crunch sushi roll, which she described as “perfect little sushi sandwiches.”
Opting to keep it simple, Kendra and Christina ordered the breakfast burger and regular burger, respectively. It was obvious they were having order remorse after seeing everyone else’s dishes come out. They noted the burgers was fine, but nothing memorable, it was no “sushi sandwich.”
Once in awhile, a city girl needs to spend some time in the ‘burbs. And when she does, she wants a decent meal. Honestly, I will be making up excuses to go shopping in Bethesda, just so we can get more sushi at Crave.
The Bitches say: B+. Don’t let the location and wide range of menu items fool you, Crave serves some of the best sushi we’ve had in the area. Every mall needs a dining option like Crave.
7101 Democracy Blvd
BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with Crave. While this article was written independently by Bitches Who Brunch, we do receive compensation from the company.