Tuesday, March 11, 2008

crown and goose reviewed

if you read this blog at all, and i'm sure you do, you know that we've been anticipating the official opening of the crown and goose for a while. thursday night, several contributors marched off to the 'gastropub' to sample its original brew and cuisine.

one thing that can be said for crown goose is that they spared no expense in design and construction. aesthetically, it feels just like your neighborhood pub should: bare brick walls (one of which has a mural of the bar's logo ), generous horseshoe shaped wooden bar, extravagant beer garden. the place even has its logo on every pint glass. what would an authentic british pub be like without branded pint glasses?

the food was very good as well. we had bangers and mash with blue cheese macaroni. both dishes were very tasty. but it was not exactly pub food. though i was anticipating a higher end pub menu, i didn't realize how high brow the c&g had in mind. entrees were $20 and higher. but the menu is also extensive (i.e. french and english cheese plates, mussels, etc.) and they do have smaller plates priced at around $7 or $8. for quality, it was very good. but i'm not making this my neighborhood pub for the food.

the beer was excellent. they have three home brews: a bitter, a stout, and an ipa. unfortunately, all they had on tap for nearly the whole evening was the stout--which was delicious. it being opening night, it seemed that c&g was still working out quite a few kinks. the service was really bad. there's no doubt that the servers were trying their best to meet demand, but the place was just overrrun. and they were having issue with the kegs, thus no bitter or ipa (they finally got the bitter up later, i enjoyed it as well). they have an extensive list of domestic and imports on tap (these also ran dry during the evening) and unique specialty drink list. i was not disappointed by the beer i drank.

overall, i really liked the place and generally enjoyed myself there. but i should note a few things i didn't like, some of which i already stated.
1. the service. it was was horrible. i know it was opening night and they need to get used to themselves. but, we waited over half an hour for a beer. so you might give the place a month to settle in. i'm sure they'll be up to snuff in a few weeks.
2. the price. i should have know better when a place calls itself a 'gastropub.' and generally, i'd say its worth the price tag for the food you're getting. unfortunately, this makes the place a little exclusive. and if there is anything a pub should be, it is NOT EXCLUSIVE. they do run a special around 6:30pm (subtract a dollar from the $4 you'll spend on a draft), which makes the place still a decent place for a pint.
3. exclusivity in the old city. this is pretty much an extension of my previous point. enjoy the redundancy. as i was preparing to write this post, i got online to see what other people were saying about the gastropub. mostly they believe that the c&g is exactly what the old city needs. if it can put itself on the map with fine dining, the old city could became knoxville's entertainment district. let me be unambigous, i'd like to steer clear of any sort of critique based on 'i don't like it because it's new and nice' and i'm not against this place because it is different than many old city establishments. i like that this place is in the old city. i really like that the owner, jeffery nash, put up a significant amount of his own money and effort to make the place look amazing and have a fantastic menu--he really did a great job. i like that it brings a diversity of establishments to the area. i don't like the idea that this will somehow be a springboard to the make the old city an ok place to hang out. my distaste is more with the clientèle at the c&g than with the place itself. one person told me, "wow, this place is great. this is exactly what the old city needs to get people to finally start coming down here." i know that this will paint me as a stuffy and trite old city rat, but the area has been pulling in people for awhile. admittedly, many are young or still in school. what the above commenter should have said was, "this will pull in a crowd of people more like me." great. like i said, any kind of diversity is welcome.

one of the things i like about the old city is its uniqueness. some places are just outright weird. i believe the c&g adds its own character to the mix. however, i hope it doesn't become the development that brings in a new, more streamlined old city. if, in a few years we need to make signs that say: "keep the old city weird," i'll lend my support.

go to the crown and goose. enjoy yourself. i give it 7.5 wigs.
[sorry stan, the wigometer only has whole wig ratings, so i rounded down. ck]


Nathaniel said...

I agree that a pub should be for everyone and the pricing was a bit high but thats what Knoxville needs. We need a place that is a little nice so we can have some grown up time.

The food was amazing! We sampled a lot of it. The fine swine, shepards pie, scallops and foie gras, deviled eggs, and the crab cake were all well done.

Anonymous said...

Stan and Wife and Me and Boyfriend tried to get a beer there late on Saturday night, but it was too packed and too loud for a band. I may be the only one in town, but I dont really want another bar in town to feature local bands on a nightly basis. This is why I no longer go to the pres pub...it's too small and too tight for bands.

So anyway, we went to across the street to the cigar bar for some drinks, and I think we all had a really good time. It's a good alternative if the goose is too packed for you. Also, earlier that night we ate dinner at Pat Sullivan's which was packed--more packed than usual--seemingly because of the goose overflow. So that's a good thing.

I havent been there yet, but I will say that 4 dollars for a pint is actually really reasonable, I think. It may be just me, but I think Knoxville is pretty cheap on drink prices; almost every other city I've visited or lived in has a standard 4 dollar beer price if the pints are locally crafted and maybe 3 bucks if they're domestics.

That's my 2 cents.

Has anyone had the welsh rabbit? that's what i want to try.

ck said...

i'll throw in that the fish in chips were great, and that the chips (aka fries) may be the best in downtown. and they come in this wire and paper cone thing. points for presentation.

c&g will be a great place for occasional eating, much like nama: a little too pricey for regular meals. but it's just the thing for a pint in the late afternoon sun.

The Modern Gal said...

It's definitely news to me that no one goes to the Old City.

Having only seen the menu, I'm holding out for the C&G's brunch.

Nathaniel said...

I take everything back nice I said about this place, well except the food is still amazing.

We went on Wednesday again and the service was the worst I have ever had. We ordered food and was there for 3 hours and only managed to get 2 beers. Service was appalling. We may have broken the will to live of our waitress as she was in a daze from our orders.

I think you need to knock it down a Wig due to the servcice alone.

stan said...

sheesh. 3 hours?

i'll give the place another month and if there is still no improvement, they'll lose two Wigs.

we take our Wigs very seriously.

ck said...

as stan pointed out, the Wigometer is a carefully calibrated device, perfectly in tune with knoxville's hipness, alcohol, and food. we may be venturing to the c&g tonight for a quick pint... we'll see how the Wigometer reacts in light of an additional factor... service.

Anonymous said...

it is obvious that all of you that left negative comments about the service at the crown and goose has never waited a table. there is a total of 7 servers at any given time on the floor. the beer garden isnt officially open until april 6th but everyone insists on sitting out there to dine. so that triple the workload for the servers. imagine inviting 50 of your most needy and demanding friends to your house and see how well you do catering to their every need for 8 solid hours. think about that and tip well. oh yeah, servers only get paid 2.13 an hour

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous. I just wanted to say that I've got your back and have refrained from writing about bad service a)because I have not been there yet and b) because I have been a server, bartender and restaurant manager so I know how absolutely crazy a new restaurant can be. And I totally feel sooooo bad for the servers there. This is why, if you've read my posts before, I say that I avoid new restaurants for two month (unless sitting at the bar). Not because I dont have faith in the service, but just because the service is bound to be a little rough BY NO FAULT OF THE SERVERS. Everyone at a new place needs to figure out how it's going to work, and that takes time. You need to figure out ticket times, how the kitchen works, how the keg lines are working, etc. etc. There's soooo much to a restaurant that non-restaurant people NEVER think about. Which is why a lot of diners in America still dont tip 20 percent. They just dont get it. And you're right...a fellow server is going to be sympathetic with all that. I dont want to wait 3 hours, which is why I dont go to a new place right off the bat. It's not the server's fault that stuff takes that long. I expect in a few weeks, everyone there will know what's what and the service will be awesome.

I get harped on by other people for expressing my opinion sometimes, so I've been avoiding doing so, but I am going to step in and say I 100-percent agree with you here.

stan said...

i meant no harm to servers in general. no doubt they work hard and often for bratty customers who tip poorly. in fact, i noted several times that the place just opened up and that the service will probably improve.

but i was writing the review based on my experience. and the negligent service was part of that. plus, just because you complain about service doesn't mean you leave a bad tip, especially on opening night. i'm a firm believer in a 20% minimum--unless the server grossly ignores, insults or otherwise maligns you or your party.

but enough defending myself. em, i welcome your opinions. even if they differ from my own. i need a good excuse to show how mine are superior--just kidding. but seriously, keep sharing them. you too, anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Stan, I know you do. I thought your review of the service was fair and took into account the opening issues. I was more trying to assure the anonymous commenter that I (we) was understanding of his defense is all.

ck said...

i can't claim the same server experience as em, but i'll echo her sympathy. the servers aren't to blame, especially in the first few weeks of business. i think most of the criticism was (with restraint) towards the management.
it's interesting that the beer garden is supposed to be still closed. mr. nash needs to close the back door and put a closed sign on it if he doesn't have enough servers. the poor guy that was waiting on us had 7 tables inside and 1 outside- he was running all over the place. opening the patio prematurely was unfair to the patrons and to the servers. and don't worry: we gave him a 30% tip. like em said, it wasn't his fault.

Anonymous said...

I will interject once more from experience not to argue but more so to point out the fact that people in general dont care...

If you put an chain link, barbed wire fence, electrified fence around a patio on a nice (or even not so nice) day and then fill the patio with skin eating acid and THEN post a sign that says PATIO CLOSED SEE HOST FOR SEATING and THEN promise to steal and it their firstborn children if they cross the line, patrons WILL STILL find a way to sit on that patio and demand service. I kid you not. People are brutal when it comes to a busy bar and a free seat and some nice weather out of season thrown in. I truly truly kid you not.

Nathaniel said...

I do want to say that this I have been twice and the first time I had amazing service and had a great time.

The issue I have is this, I had horrible service the second time around. Which reflects poorly on the restaurant and makes me not want to come back.

I understand working in the restaurant business is not always easy or fun but when you don't do your job well in a public place I think you need comment on it and ask for it to rectified.

The server cost herself and the bar some significant money. We wanted to be good tippers and enjoy the C&G as we love the place but it needs to fixed. The majority of people in my group were restaurant workers so I was not being harsh.

C&G Please FIX IT! Thats all i ask.

The Modern Gal said...

That's funny. When we went on Sunday for brunch, the hostess actually invited us to sit in the beer garden. We didn't even ask.

The brunch was yummy and we had great service. I think it will be the place to go once they work out the kinks. And there were a few kinks on our bill, but nothing worth arguing about this early on.

Kendra said...

I just have to chime in here. I was there on St. Patrick's day for drinks only and had a great time. Our bartender, Lance is the most awesome bar tender ever! However, we went back last night and waited for over two hours for a table and never got seated. Finally at 8p we gave up and went to the Brewery. When I complained to the manager, his response was "What do you want me to do? No one is getting up." That is HORRIBLE customer service. Especially considering that I live a block away and am likely to frequent there often. The service is terrible, but I think it is due to poor management and also the fact that it is new. Hopefully by May they will have everything straightened out. I'm dying to try this food I keep hearing is so awesome.