Krem, With Ice Cream on Top

November 17, 2005 at 8:37pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in 625 Elm Street

The Missus and I went to Krem for Date Night last night, followed by a trip to Ivanna Cone.

Krem Le Bistro is a new restaurant in the Creamery Building at 701 ‘P’ Street in the Haymarket. The Missus and I arrived shortly after 6:00pm. The Haymarket was practically deserted, unusual for that time of day. The cold weather probably kept people home. Krem was nearly empty; two young men were just finishing up their meal when we arrived, and they left a few minutes later. Eventually ten (or so) women showed up and all sat together, and one young man had a drink at the bar while waiting for his girlfriend (wife?) to do her thing at the neighboring salon.

Krem’s atmosphere is charming. As Jesse Whidden noted, the ambiance screams “date place”. It felt like a place we wanted to stay for a while. And we did.

The service was great, but it would have been difficult for it not to be great considering our waitress had little to do but cater to us. Our waitress seemed a bit inexperienced and/or untrained, but not in an especially negative way. She just didn’t exude confidence. She did a fine job, though. Hopefully confidence comes with time. One thing that really disappointed me was that the owner (or was he the manager?) never came over to talk to us. In fact, he more or less avoided looking at or noticing us at all the entire time we were there. That really put me off. Contrast that with our experience at Scrumpy Jacks, where one of the owners not only stopped by our table, he chatted with us for a couple minutes despite the fact that the restaurant was very busy at the time.

I’m going to give the food mixed reviews, but with a couple asterisks. I began with a cup of the creamy g

arlic soup. It resembled baby food, and I wasn’t a big fan of the taste. This is where one of the asterisks comes in: I’ve never eaten garlic soup before and I only like garlic in moderation. I ordered the soup just for fun, to experiment. So I can’t blame Krem for me not liking the soup. I took a risk that was likely to fail, and it did fail. I won’t order the soup again, but I’m not saying that you shouldn’t order it. Somebody who knows garlic soup will have to tell me if Krem’s version is any good.

For my entree I had the beef stroganoff. It was served with a nice helping of sauteed squash. The beef itself had a good flavor, although I wasn’t a big fan of the gravy. Here’s asterisk number two: the gravy was made with red wine, and I don’t like—no, I hate—wine. So why did I order it? Because occasionally I enjoy a dish despite it being made with wine. As with the soup, I just wanted to experiment. I liked the beef stroganoff better than I liked the soup, but still not enough for me to order it again. Remember: I’m not blaming my lack of enthusiasm for either the soup or the entree on Krem. I blame it on the guy who purposely ordered two items he knew he might not like.

The Missus played it much more conservative, ordering something she knew she should like. She went with the quiche of the day, served with fruit and a muffin. Wednesday’s quiche was a Southwestern variety, and The Missus enjoyed it very much. At only $5.45, the quiche was a darn good deal. She raved about her pumpkin muffin (“It was veerrrrrry good”). She was disappointed in her fruit, though. It consisted only of three apple wedges. True, the dish was only $5.45, but from a place like Krem you might expect something with a bit more oomph in variety, quantity, presentation, or whatever. The Missus didn’t need more fruit, but the fruit as given to her seemed inconsistent with the restaurant as a whole.

Consistent with The Missus’ pumpkin muffin, the bread served along with the meal was very delicious. We were given several slices of both white and wheat bread. Krem, it seems, excels at baked goods.

Krem’s menu is nicely varied. There are beef, fish, pork, chicken, vegetarian, and vegan options. Very, very few places in Lincoln squeeze that kind of variety onto their menus. And yet Krem’s menu isn’t huge. That means that Krem stands a much better chance of being good at what it does. Contrast that with the now-defunct Bob’s Gridiron Grill, which had a huge menu and ultimately suffered because it could not offer consistent quality over the breadth of its available options.

Overall, our experience at Krem was pleasant. We will visit again, and next time I will not order items that I know I might not like. (The Armenian pizza appetizer looked like something I’d like to try.) I wish Krem Le Bistro the best.

After Krem, The Missus and I ventured downstairs to Ivanna Cone. I went with a caramel shake, while The Missus had scoops of fudge brownie and sweet cream vanilla. About my shake: Best. Shake. Ever. I’m not saying that just because I’m predisposed to liking Ivanna Cone, or because it’s local, or because the ice cream helped fend off some of my garlic breath. No, it was, without question, the best shake I’ve ever had. I knew it the moment it hit my mouth. The Missus knew it too because my expression noticeably changed. I don’t know if I was just in the right mood, or if the stars were aligned just so, or if the guy who made my shake spiked it with something, but that was a really dang good shake.

There you have it, that was last night’s Date Night. Go give Krem a try when you get a chance and let me know what you think.

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The Comments

Mr. T November 18, 2005 at 3:25am

Thanks for the review. I take it then, the owner (or manager) did go out to talk to some people, but intentionally chose not to talk to you? If so, I agree that is definitely low class and more importantly - poor management - particularly if there were only a handful of customers there, as you indicated. If you’re going to go out, one should go out and chat it up with all the customers, NOT just the older (assumption: wealthier return customers) diners (or the pretty girls). Definitely sends out the wrong signal.

Mr. Wilson November 18, 2005 at 4:17am

I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of this. He didn’t do anything wrong, per se. He just didn’t do the right thing. He was like the guy who doesn’t hold the door open for you. He’s under no obligation to hold the door, but it sure would have been nice of him if he had.

Long story short: he had many, many opportunities to speak with us, before, during, and after the meal. And he did interact in varying ways with the guy at the bar and the group of women. Compared to the unsolicited interactions I’ve experienced with restaurant owners in Lincoln (i.e. Bob at Bob’s Gridiron Grill, Nader at Yia Yia’s and Oso Burrito, Jeff Crandon at Scrumpy Jacks, to name just a few), this was a disappointment. He had time to sit on the couch and twiddle his thumbs (literally!), he should have made time to welcome us and seek our feedback (even if he was only doing it for show).

Mr. T November 18, 2005 at 5:49am

Well I

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