Working at a restaurant is incredibly difficult. I didn’t manage my brief stint in the business without spilling a tray full of champagne on the father of the bride before proceeding to drop the top portion of his daughter’s wedding cake. And that was only one night.
Managing a restaurant is more difficult still. You must master countless fine arts, as well as have the prudence to avoid hiring people like me. For CRAVE to have done so well that they just opened their 11th location in Fargo is a testament to their excellence. But exactly how has CRAVE achieved this? One suspects that John McDonald, the general manager of the newest location, has something to do with it. He honed his talents at his own local seafood restaurant for 26 years before lending them to CRAVE.
“There is a certain romantic element to managing a restaurant, absolutely,” said John. “You’re not only creating food from scratch. You’re creating an entire brand while you’re at it. But the great challenge of it – and the thing I love most – is just how dynamic it all is. You have to pay attention to a hundred different details at once, and the feedback is immediate if you ever miss the mark.
“With 110 bottles on our wine list and more than 20 available by the glass, you will find the perfect accompaniment to any meal”
“One of the biggest parts of CRAVE’s identity is our sushi kitchen. Sushi is a cuisine that chefs devote entire lifetimes to mastering, so offering it alongside a larger, traditional American menu is ambitious. Depending on the level of skill they bring with them, we train our sushi chefs for at least six to eight weeks. Every one of their knife strokes must be deliberate, intended solely to make each roll or nigiri a thing of beauty. You should recognize great sushi the instant it is set on your table.
“And that’s to say nothing about the fish itself! Sushi demands the finest, for the simple reason that raw seafood doesn’t lie. Back in the early ‘90s, yes, any kind of seafood might have raised eyebrows in the Midwest, let alone raw. Thankfully procuring the freshest fish has become relatively easy more recently. And if you like many other Americans believe that fish must be cooked, then you can still enjoy the freshest salmon and sea bass here at CRAVE.
“The Fargo-Moorhead area certainly has more resident beef experts than it has fish connoisseurs. That’s why we have to be just as exacting about the quality of the steaks and burgers we serve at CRAVE. We prepare only Certified Angus Beef, the highest grade of Angus beef available. Very few cuts will receive that grade, but we genuinely believe we must make that quality statement here in beef country. (We would serve the same beef at any other CRAVE location, of course.)
“CRAVE offers something for everyone. Whatever comes out of our scratch kitchen, we pay the attention to detail it takes to make certain we only put the best in front of our guests. That extends to the quality of our waitstaff’s service, as well as the ambiance of our dining room. Our architects fully understood that we wish to create an experience in which people would want to take their time dining.
“I would recommend you come by for our bar alone! With 110 bottles on our wine list and more than 20 available by the glass, you will find the perfect accompaniment to any meal or discover your new favorite varietal. We have craft cocktails like our signature smoked Manhattan, made with Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and served in a freshly smoked glass to give it an indescribable character. We also have 16 draught beers on tap, including several from local Fargo breweries.”
CRAVE is located at 3902 13th Ave S in Fargo. You may see their full menu at CRAVEfargo.com or make a reservation at (701) 809-9020.
by David Scheller