Chef David Burke Brings Lunch to Crumbs
For a well-known cupcake chain looking to start serving lunch (not that a cupcake or two for lunch doesn’t sound sweet), a good way to bolster your lunchtime bonafides is to have a celebrity chef write your menu. That’s exactly what Crumbs did last week when it rolled out a lunch menu full of sandwiches, wraps, and salads devised by the acclaimed chef, David Burke. Slapping a chef’s name on something doesn’t guarantee it’ll be good however (see Guy Fieri’s American Kitchen and Bar), so I stopped by Crumbs to see how Crumbs’/Burke’s sandwiches stack up.
Crumbs’ lunch offerings are pre-made and stored in a self-serve refrigerated display case reminiscent of Pret a Manger, which isn’t necessarily the best way to impress the Midtown Lunch crowd. Neither is pricing most everything just below or above the ML limit of $10. For Crumbs, Burke’s devised a sampling of standard sandwiches like smoked turkey or roast beef, but with the gourmet twist you might expect from an award-winning chef.
I was tempted to try the pastrami smoked salmon sandwich, easily the most interesting of the bunch, but the $12.95 price tag drove me away. Instead, I opted for the Angry Roast Beef, priced at $9.95.
The Angry Roast Beef comes adorned with roast beef, sharp cheddar cheese, shaved red onions, lettuce, tomato, honey mustard, and horseradish creme fraiche, and is served on honey brioche. It’s a fairly substantial sandwich, maybe a little larger than you might find at Pret, but certainly not piled high with meat and other fillings.
The first thing that has to be said is the bread was soggy. Juicy roast beef is a good thing, but not when it’s going to be sitting in a box for a while. The roast beef itself was tender and well-seasoned, but lacked much real beef flavor.
Where it wasn’t soggy, I actually liked the bread. It didn’t taste much like onion or brioche, but seemed to be a good, hearty multigrain bread.
The cheese was good, and this being July, the tomatoes weren’t the mealy, pink slices you might otherwise expect. The real letdown of the sandwich, though, was the horseradish creme fraiche. Remember, this is billed as Angry Roast Beef. I wanted to feel the heat, but unfortunately the horseradish was all but undetectable, a mere temper tantrum between two slices of bread. The honey mustard was much more prevalent.
All in all, the sandwich was a letdown, especially given the expectations created by David Burke’s reputation. If it’s representative of all of Crumbs’ lunch offerings, you can expect to find sandwiches and salads that are more expensive and gourmet version of Pret’s, but a bit less successful.
Crumbs is serving lunch at select locations throughout Manhattan.
Crumbs, multiple locations, 1-877-CRUMBS-0