Review: Crumb Deli / Eagan

crumblogo    cuban1

It’s not a deli.  It’s a GOURMET DELI.  Wow, that sounds like it’s better than your average deli, right?

It’s a good looking space.  Seems well-organized.  The counter staff is helpful (and enthusiastic) without being overly solicitous.  I like the design and layout of the place, a futuristic feel.  Worth trying?   If you don’t know what a true deli is, or how the food should be, it won’t matter.  I know delis.  This ain’t it.  Spoiler alert:  They don’t even have a REUBEN on their menu.   It’s like going to the movies only to find they don’t serve popcorn.

Cole Slaw.  Seems funny to critique something as simple as a cole slaw, but when you sound the fanfare horns (da-da-DAH!) that you’re a GOURMET DELI, the requisite standards found in any true deli, like pickles, potato salad and cole slaw, among others, had better be tasty and memorable.  These are simple items to prepare, but they can be screwed up, and if details are missed or (more to the point) if they’re done lazily and cheaply…forget it.

The cole slaw from Crumb GOURMET DELI was not fresh.  I lunched on a Tuesday, and I’m thinking this could have been made days earlier.  It was listless.  It was….(gasp!)…DRY.   One thing you can’t skimp is condiments.  Mayonnaise is a condiment.  If you can’t add the correct amount of moistness to something as simple as cole slaw, there’s a problem.   The cole slaw was the first thing I ate, because any deli worth its mettle will make a decent slaw.  This was pitiful.

On to the Cuban Sandwich.  Can they do better than the slaw?  See Crumb’s version of a Cuban pictured above.  Now, take a look at a picture of an authentic Cuban Sandwich below.


What do we see here?  That’s right, GRILL MARKS from a plancha.  A panini press would work too, as long as you spread enough butter on the bread.  We also see an ample amount of ham and pork.  Crumb GOURMET DELI goes to the trouble of procuring a very decent ciabatta to stage this construct, and completely fall flat on the rest of the sandwich.   There were scant slices of pork, and not even enough ham to cover the bread.   A decent Cuban Sandwich is beautiful because it’s simple, and so delicious.  Crumb’s menu even states their Cuban is ‘toasted’.   Thanks, but wrong.  You toast a Cuban on a Panini press or a plancha or at the very least, press it down on a flat top to allow the flavors to melt and meld and build a buttery crunch.  THAT is a Cuban.  Crumb fails miserably in this.

You can stand on top of your building and sing ‘GOURMET DELI!’ at the top of your lungs, but if your food doesn’t hit the right notes, no amount of volume will help you.  This is nothing more than pretension and ego posing as a deli.  And greed.  Look at the picture again of Crumb’s Cuban Sandwich and let it speak for itself.  For hi$7.75, I’m really scratching my head.   Then again, if you’re going to go cheap with your cole slaw, pretty much everything else on the menu is going to follow the same threadbare suit.  If there was the telltale deli scent of a house-made corned beef or pastrami wafting about, I might have taken a second crack at their Reuben.  Alas, no such luck.  Remember, they don’t have a Reuben.  Oi vey. 

Save your money and spare your sensibilities.  This is no deli, much less a GOURMET DELI.  Screwing up cole slaw and a sandwich and not having corned beef or pastrami is the tavern equivalent of screwing up a beer.  Nearly impossible to do, but if you really try, it can be accomplished.  Nice going, Crumb.

Grade:  I’m not assigning a letter grade to Crumb Deli.  [1/4/2016 – NOTE:  I changed my mind.  Crumb GOURMET DELI gets an ‘F’.]   You just don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression, especially with all the ‘gourmet deli’ pre-bluster.




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