I struggled the overall rating for Cress because the food deserves an excellent rating but the service was a tremendous disappointment. This netted down to average. After hearing how great the food was, we were so excited to try Cress and went for our anniversary. The atmosphere is charming and eclectic. It's a small but tasteful restaurant and was rather noisy which doesn't bother us. After we were seated we waited several minutes for a server to approach the table. This was surprising since fine dining often starts with very attentive service.
We ordered a glass of wine each while we considered the menu and waited significantly longer than is typical to place our food order. I did notice the wine portions were small for an establishment of this caliber. We started with the house vegetarian sampler and it was outstanding. Pickled locally sourced heirloom vegetables, deviled eggs, the best hummus I've ever had, chimichurri, and grilled naan.
For dinner I ordered the phaneng curry dish and my husband had the hung wagyu entree with alfredo. The curry was served with rice and warm naan that was delivered about 5 minutes before the entree arrived which was odd. And when our entrees were delivered both of our wine glasses were empty and our water glasses were less than half full but the servers did not offer more wine or additional water.
When I finally had my full meal it was very good. Loaded with fresh vegetables and the fish of the day. The curry was rich, savory, full flavored and as pleasantly spicy as they promised. However, I could not eat it all because my wine and water were empty and the spice without water to drink was a bit overpowering, albeit delicious. My husband's beef was probably the most flavorful meat we have both ever had. Alone without being dressed up it was outstanding, perfectly cooked and fork tender. That particular entree was probably one of the best we both have had anywhere. But it would have been much better with wine and water.
When the server arrived to clear our plates he was going to take them without offering drink refills and I had to specifically ask for water and my husband had to ask if he could have more wine. By then I didn't want any more wine since my meal was complete. The glass of wine poured for my husband was even less than his first- perhaps 1/4 of the red wine glass.
Although at this point we were disappointed with the service, since it was our anniversary we ordered dessert and opted for a citrus infused chocolate mousse dish. Like the rest of the food, it was outstanding.
Overall, the food is great but the proprietors need to step up the service. For a shared appetizer, three glasses of wine, two entrees and dessert we paid just under $100 before tip. But I also know I can go to similar restaurants in St. Augustine, New Smyrna or Winter Park and pay the same and have significantly better service. The restaurant was not full and there seemed to be adequate staff so there is no compelling reason we could find for not being able to get our drinks refilled.
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