I have lived in San Diego most of my life and I have always wanted to try Croce's. My husband decided that our 17th wedding anniversary would be the perfect time for a visit. I was excited and looked through their menu before hand so I would have an idea of what I wanted to try.
We had reservations at 8:15 for Saturday night. First of all, it's a lot smaller on the inside than I imagined. We were given a table just inside the restaurant, next to the door. I noticed they seemed to squeeze in tables anywhere they could. It was so crowded my chair was a cuple of inches from the chair behind me. And for such a popular and busy place you have to.
Soon after sitting our server approached; he didn't introduce himself as our server, he just started showing us their specialty cocktail and beer menu and going over the specials of the day. We decided to order drinks before dinner. My husband wanted a craft beer and when he ordered it, our server told him that had just sold the last two a while ago and were out. Okay, it would have been nice if he told us that when he have us the menu and saw my husband looking at the beers. (However, it didn't seem to bother my husband and he just picked another one). I had a glass of chianti. Their wine by the glass selection is limited.
We decided to try their appetizer/small plate special- 3 shrimps, 3 briased ribs, and hummus. Not too bad. The hummus was, well, it was hummus. Nothing spectacular or different about it. I did like the fact that the roasted red bell peppers were on the side. The shrimps were okay, one of the three had lots of breading, and my husband said the ribs were good. I didn't try them since I don't eat red meat.
I was set on having the duck beast. I ordered it and my husband ordered the sea bass. However, during our appetizer course our server came back to our table and informed me that they had sold out of duck. What!!!!???!?!? Why didn't he tell me this when I ordered? Because, apparently, according to him, they just sold out. He did not put in our entrée order right away so it wouldn't come out with our appetizers. Okay, so I've never worked in the food industry, but there has to be some way for customers who order early enough to have the food they ordered. So he was telling me that sometime between the time when I placed my order and when we were eating our appetizers other people ordered the duck and I was out of luck. I wish he would have told me this was even a possibility, because I would have told him to bring it out with the appetizers. (I have been to other restaurants where they have told us that a certain item on the menu is in limited quantity, so why couldn't they do this here?)
Now, I am not a nit-picky person, but you would think for an establishment that has been in business for this long, they would find a way to keep beers and food in supply, especially on a weekend, or have their staff informed of shortages so they can then inform the customers.
No duck- strike 2.
I settled for scallops and was disappointed with those as well. First of all there were ony 3. The appetizer had 2 and for half the cost. I love scallops and these were some of the worst I have had. The first one was seared and cooked well but TOO salty. The other two weren't seasoned well, but a bit undercooked; it was obvious by the lack of carmelization on them and then by the texture when I ate them. It came with a barley "risotto." The edamame in the risotto was hard- not steamed long enough. Scallops- strike 3.
On the plus side, my husband enjoyed his dinner and he had no complaints.
I am most definitely not a food/restaurant snob. I enjoy fine dining, but I also enjoy eating at the local taco shop and mom and pop diners as long as the food is good. For the caliber of what Croce's is supposed to be, I think our meal was not worth the price we paid. I really wanted to like this place. I wanted it to be a place we would come to more often. Throughout the night, I set aside disappointment after disappointment to give it a chance, but to no avail.
They are moving at the end of the year, and during the change I truly hope that they read some of these not so stellar reviews and take them to heart.
Service 3: server was friendly, but needs to be more informed.
Food 2: I would have given it a 1 if not for the fact that my husband enjoyed all the food he ate
Value 1: Price does not equal value. I truly believe there are less expensive restaurants in downtown and throughout San Diego with better food and value.
Atmosphere 4: lively; music was good, but very crowded. Felt like we were squeezed into a corner.
Romance 2: can't be very romantic when the next table is literally 2 inches away.
Sorry, but I will not be visiting Croce's anytime soon. Maybe after they move I'll give them another chance.
Visited July 6, 2013.
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