Ah, the dulcet tones, the violin solo, the sweet as hell music video of some Utopian jazz club. I was very excited to see the new joint in the MGM (taking over the Nob Hill spot) is named after my favorite song from one of my favorite bands, Dave Matthews Band (I call them DMB). ”Crush” is a totally great song with good music in it, but will this tapas/wine bar be worth the square footage?
It’s a venture of Michael and Jenna Morton (of La Cave, La Comida, and the Morton Steakhouse Group [but only via familiar relation, not business]), but an interesting one. The space itself is unusually cozy. I was thinking it would be all bistro seats and techno music. Yes friends, I am glad to tell you there is a semi-casual restaurant that isn’t pumping out Teen Disney or geriatric-core rock, but rather simple and soft jazz piano covers.
The interior here is cool, but cool in that way where you make a normal space and put a ton of vintage laboratory equipment in it to make it “hip”. Like all darkened tapas/wine bars, it has already started to attract every lady over 30, probably by way of some kind of pheromone or emitting an extremely low frequency.
The menu, in a very uncharacteristic move for such concepts, is actually NOT a giant unfocused mess! Twenty-three items are tapas (seven of which are pizzas, just thin enough to skirt the entree category), eight are “full-size” dishes. More on the suspicious quotations around that term later in the article.
Some items, like the hamachi or the kale salad, are a bit phoned-in or could have benefited from some simple tweaks or additions. These sour notes only punctuate an otherwise very unique menu. The executive chef, William DeMarco, has taken the next logical step from his La Cave style with pizzas that leave his own flat breads in the dust. The Thai coconut curry shrimp pizza, with asparagus and smoked bacon, is complexly spiced and surprisingly creative.