Creme and the $9 Hot Dog

Although I initially somewhat wrote off Creme's menu, I checked it out for a quick bite Tuesday night, and I have to say I think I underestimated the place. We started off with tangy margaritas, served up (neighboring Alero could use a few tips).

I'm extremely skeptical of anyone who messes with the beautiful simplicity of a well-made crab cake, but throwing caution to the wind, we ordered the "no bread crumb" crab cake—Creme's version wraps crab salad in a crisped spring roll wrapper. The combination worked nicely, with a mache salad and small dabs of dijon mustard accenting the dish on the side.

I was extremely curious about the "nine dollar hot dog," made from ever-so-trendy Kobe beef. Served on a soft, browned pretzel roll in a diner-style basket, the juicy dog comes with a plate of nearly 10 condiments, including two kinds of mustard, pickled onions, kim chee, tomato marmalade, chopped tomatoes, pickles and peppers. It was fun getting to dress up each bite with a new flavor. A bed of decent fries filled out the bottom of the basket.

We also tried the shrimp and grits, which were delightfully garlicky, the shrimp plump and cooked just right.

I actually feel guilty about writing this place off. The lighting was nice, the music relaxing, and the two owners as nice as can be. I plan to go back and drink my way through more of the cocktail menu and try out the upscale version of pork and beans.

Welcome to the neighborhood Creme.