Crave Bar, Grill, and Fondue Room


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by nevesis

No chef. Grill food is from sysco (not prepared fresh) and a lot of it is microwaved. Avoid!

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by Crave-ing More

I'm guessing Crave needs a different chef to dig itself out of its hole because food has consistently been bad here. I agree with mompom that the food just isn't worth the value. I've visited Crave multiple times since its opening and man this place went downhill since it opened.

I thought its open the food wasn't good but liked the dessert.
I went to Dine with your Dog and that was really fun and so was the environment - then. I still like the dessert but the service has dropped. The food is as bad as ever - and that's bad news if you're a restaurant. I'll give it another shot in a few months - for dessert - but major improvements need to be made if Crave is going to compete with the heavy competition on Mills Civic and at Jordan Creek.

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by mompom

I have eaten at Crave twice now, and I cannot believe the poor quality of food this restaurant is serving!

Mostly I want to talk about the fondue room which is by far the most expensive. First off, the cheese fondue is actually not bad. It's not good or exciting but it's not terrible either. What IS terrible is the atrocious, lifeless bread that they give you to dip in it. A focaccia or a hearty peasant bread would be great, but alas, there is nothing like this. They also served taco chips (!?!) with this course. The taco chips were cheap and weak too... bordering on stale.

Next, came the salad. I am not extremely picky on salads as long as they are fresh and decent. The caesar salad was mediocre, nothing special... but tolerable.

Next, came the broth/meat course. It was such a disappointment because I assumed we would be using oil for this course, but it was a broth that was used to boil the meat. The steak was pretty tough, and a few people in our party wouldn't eat any more of it. The chicken was plain, but good. The vegetarian plate was weird with egg rolls and fried mozzarella triangles and a few sad looking slices of flavorless summer squash and lifeless cauliflower.

I have to admit I am picky about produce, but there is no excuse for bland produce. And the produce was so blah, no one really ate any. The carrots had that slight taste of mildew/mold that so much grocery produce has these days as did the otherwise flavorless mushrooms and cauliflower. Out of the 7 dipping sauces, the best was the teriyaki sesame sauce.

That brings us to the chocolate course. Hmmm... what to say here. The chocolate wasn't bad either, in fact I liked it even though it probably was sweetened with high fructose corn syrup and wasn't anything special. It was fun to toast a marshmallow over the chocolate and the brownie was quite good. The fruit was not my thing as I really don't care for bananas or pineapple dipped in chocolate, but some people like that and that's great for them. The smores are a fun idea.

My biggest beef with the restaurant is that for what you get, the price is outrageous. For a mediocre (sometimes horrible) meal plus drinks, it would cost two people $100. In the Des Moines area, if I am going to spend $100 dollars I will do it somewhere that uses fresh produce, unique recipes, local artisanal breads, and more flavor. Crave is worth it if you just want the experience of fondue. But if you are looking for mouthwatering fondue fare, honestly you should just buy the swiss fondue packet at Dahl's, buy an oil fondue pot and a sterno type pot at Target... fill in the rest of the fixings, and for just a little more, you could have an entire fondue party at your house!

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by AmesIA

My boyfriend took me here for my birthday/Valentine's Day and I couldn't have asked for a better night! Our server was great - obviously knew his stuff and was very personable. The food was better than I had thought it would be. To be honest, the whole idea of cooking our own food didn't sound great, but everything was well seasoned and it tasted very good! And of course, how can you complain about pure chocolate for dessert?
I will say they were out of the first wine we wanted, but substituted a very good one and it complimented our meal well. Additionally, the manager stopped by to ensure we were having a nice evening, which says a lot about how much they value their customers.
I have no complaints about Crave and am excited to go back!

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by hojo

Holy cow this place is bad. Servers are confused, slow, and irritating. Food is mediocre at best. With such a great location they've really taken West Glen down with it (not saying West Glen is bad, but it'd be infinitely better with a premier restaurant here). I have not had the fondue, so this rating is based on everything else. I'd avoid this place like the plague.

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by Ana

This place is way overpriced for the poor quality food, horrible atmosphere and under experienced wait staff. The food was actually HORRIBLE! Do yourself a favor and skip this place!

I heard the bad reviews before I went but figured it couldnt be all that bad - it WAS!!


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by Sedition

Nice Idea, gone wrong.

I first saw a fondue bar back in Denver, nice set up, good service, and pricy. Take way the good service, and you have Crave.

I understand they are working the kinks out. I don't mind wait staff with a little bit of facial jewelry these days, but it does tell me you are not paying top wages. Here's a tip - pay top wages, get the wait staff over the age of 30 you need to justify $40 a plate.

Still, it's a fun diversion for Des Moines. The wine list sucks, but it does pretty much everywhere near Jordan Creek. I've heard good things about the Martini's, but low-proof flavored vodka is a wine cooler to me, Martini's are supposed to have gin and vermouth.

The centerpiece is the fondue, why else go? When you do, don't cheap out - this is a place for the experience, so break the bank - ie, about $50 per person, plus drinks. The fondue is pretty good, a nice selection of pedestrian food guaranteed to appeal to middle age women. Expect Shullsburg cheeses, fresh veggies, and your choice of meat and chocolate. They really do need an oil pot built into the tables, as I understand the risk of having loose pots skating around. But classic 1960's big-hair fondue thrived on the fried cheese chunks. These are sorely missing. They do have a very nice selection of dipping sauces, very well done. I'd rate 4 stars if they'd knock $10 off per plate - or beef up the service and make the atmosphere more intimate.

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by nevesis

The atmosphere is like a carnival gone wrong. The grill food is boring -- straight from Sysco and obviously prepared (and plated) without the expertise of a chef. The drinks are fine. Service varies. I haven't tried the fondue, but from the menu it appears to be far less than authentic. Real fondue is made with Gruyere and Emmenthaler cheeses, not Cheddar and Salsa. Also, no oil fondue.

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by Theresa

I'm reviewing the fondue portion and giving 2 stars for the level of service. Other than that, people who have never had fondue are really missing out on what real fondue is or could be like. The worst part was cooking our food in broth. I know they took oil away for safety purposes but then they should have gotten rid of that part of fondue then. It just isn't good, even if you get that flavored broth that you pay an extra $5 for. The only fondue worth getting the next time is the chocolate. But how can anyone mess that up?

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by kris

I have been to Crave about 4 times. We have had girls night out there 3 times, food is blan and pricey for the quaility. Martinis are good. I also had the woobly table on the patio, spilled drinks, one the waiter set down and spilled, and no credit given. The choclate fondue is the best best, although one night that was not even up to par. Service is off and on. One time my freind and I were the first of the group to arrive, around 4:30 on a Thursday, went to the bar, no one else in the place, and did not get service for 15 minutes, and then only after we summoned someone.
I hope they step up their game, as the location and atmosphere is great.

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by quietriot

I would really only recommend going to Crave on Thursday nights with their martini specials - the martinis are so good and there are tons of options; plus they are on sale on Thursday nights. As for the food, I only have ordered food there one time and it was the Bruschetta. The bread was dry, teeny tiny and the tomatoes were so bland. I will never order the Bruschetta there again as it is very disappointing.

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by kathleendsm

We were sorely disappointed in our fondue meal here. For starters, our waitress was apparently either very new or very incompetant: drinks took forever, and the time between courses was extremely long. There were only one or two other tables occupied in the Fondue Room, so that's definitely not the excuse.

Anyway, the cheese fondue was the highlight of the meal: very good. But when we ordered our meat course, we specifically asked for no mushrooms due to allergies. We also ordered the au vin cooking style, as the menu gave no indication that it contained mushrooms. Of course, it did, and she blithely put it down in front of us while we stared in horror, and then she didn't wait for us to say anything before disappearing. When we got her back she replaced it with the boullion, but seemed extremely annoyed. The meats were tough, even the "filet mignon," which we seriously doubt was filet.

The chocolate course was good, but served rather cold, so we had another long wait for it to warm up.

All in all, I hope Des Moines gets a Melting Pot so we can get some great fondue, because we certainly won't be visiting Crave again.

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CRAVE good food good service that's an A+ in my book !
Their bar food is great considering your other option in the area is the Caberat ...NOTHING BETTER THAN COOKING IN A MICROWAVE...WHAT A JOKE... I don't know why they serve food at all O'well that's a whole nother subject...The owner at crave is their to help you with a smile ... plus his lovely wife is always their to lend a hand...I just want to say thank you crave for bringing some decent food to West Glen !!

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by Chris

Took my new fiance to Crave for Valentines Day, wanted to try something new but when we got there they were booked up for the fondue part. At first we were upset but We stayed and got a table right away on the grill side. We did not even know they had a regular menu. It was the best steak I have had in the area. Someone told us to be prepared for the bill so I assumed it was going to be expensive. It was very reasonable, my wife just got a sandwhich and it was cheaper than our visit to that Red Robin when we took my nephews. We did ask to see a fondue menu and that was much priceier. We also were very surpised to learn we coudl do the chocolate fondue on the grill side, I am not a chocolate fan but my fiance loved it. We also had some singers stop by the table to serenade us, a very nice touch that you do not see in the area. My fiance was so impressed she booked an office function. My only suggestion, advertise. They should advertise that you have a grill menu, We did not know, we thought it was only fondue. if the rest of the menu is anything like my steak and my fiances sandwich we will bring our friends with us next visit.

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by Eric

I never had such a bad experience! I wanted to bring my new wife somewhere special for Valentine's Day - so we booked reservations for Saturday before Valentine's Day. We arrived and the fondue room didn't look that busy with only about half the tables taken. A manager told us he was sorry that they didn't have enough staff (And on the weekend before Valentine's Day one would think they'd have planned enough staff to work!) but they turned us away.

Remember the Seinfeld episode about the car rental when Seinfeld says, "It's not the important part that you TAKE the reservation. Anbody can take the reservation! You have to keep the reservation." Something to that effect!

Thanks to Crave, we were disappointed. After telling our experience the next Monday at work, I heard from several associates that the food has serious issues and value poor. I believe them. Will not return.

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by Chad

We tried Crave for the first time on New Years Eve. I was pact, but we waited at the cozy and neat looking bar. We had a group of 6 for the fondue part of the restuarant. This was the coolest thing that we have done, eating wise, on New Years or anytime. It was awesome. The server was one of the best we have had, he didnt rush us and took great care of our drink orders. It wasnt that bad cooking your own food , it was pretty fun. My wife and the other ladies loved the martinis. We even stayed after dinner and went back to the bar side to dance, we stayed late and then had some of their appetizers on the grill side. If you want the best buffalo chicken strips you have to go to Crave. This is a must recommend. The fondue is not something for every visit but a good special occassion. The only recommendation we had, was that it was snowing pretty good and the walks were not cleared out front.

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by Cheap Date

We had a horrible experience the first time we went to the Fondue Room. We waited an hour and upon our return our hostess kept blaming the fact that they were short staffed (on a Friday night) for why we hadnt gotten seated. We waited 20 minutes for water, and then we ordered. After it was all said and done we went through three waiters before getting our food. The cheese was bland and not all that tasty, they didnt have italian salad dressing, and our waiter (when asked about what was good) said that they "were still working on a few items." He also pointed our their liability in that there were no timers for the meat. The best part about the fondue room is the dessert, hands down! The second time we went back for dessert only and i believe that's the way to go!

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by WDM Thru and Thru

Too much was invested on the building itself and not enough thought was put into the uninspired food. Would be half a star except for the modern feel. We probably won't return but may try the other side if we do.

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by devon

We went to crave on a wednesday...and were quite surprised!
They were busy at like 9 o was open mic or a concert or something, which was cool...not annnoying like i usually find...our server was a little weak....but the food was stellar....steaks are awesome..and like 5 dollars cheaper than most JC wife had a beef and polenta dish that she really liked's a nice little laid back place with good food and a chill but fun ambiance....the only part i didn't like is that they do swing dancing on thursday or fridays and my wife is making me go for lessons!

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by sandra

My husband and I had guests in town Sunday night and wanted something different. We almost didnt go becuase we look at this site but we decided to try the fondue. After a little confusion, when we walked into Crave, on whether we wanted the grill part of the restuarant or fondue we were seated in a neat room in a cozy booth. Our server Joe was very entertaining. Since we were new to the fondue thing he was very attentive, we have not had service like that in Des Moines in a while. Wwe really wanted to share our experience since it was nothing like the last few comments. It was not something that we woudl do on a regular basis but it was a definite hit wiht our guests, The service and atmoshpere really topped it off. The cheese and chocolate were the delicous, since we ahd to cook our own meat it was ok.
We are looking forward to trying the other part and woudl highly recomend this place.

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by Tony

When is this place going to figure out that their service is some of the worst in Des Moines. My wife and I were there several months ago and had bad service. We were there Saturday night again and were ignored by the bartendar. Our waitress did not bring silverware, napkins or anything without us asking. When I asked what my side choices were for my steak sandwich, the waitress said "i have no idea, does that come with sides?" we saw a couple walk in and sit down at the bar. they were the only two people at the bar. The bartendar did not even acknowledge them and after five minutes they got up and walked out. the food is average at best.

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by Disgusting

Maybe we went too close to "kitchen close" Thursday night, but we will never go again!!! The manager asked my date how her food was, but she didn't bother to ask me and seemed taken aback to deal with me, since I barely touched my gross entree. In retrospect, maybe we should not have eaten at the bar, but I've always gotten good help at the bar in every other restaurant/bar. We cannot tell since we couldn't tell whether we were at a bar or restaurant - but anyway our food was nasty. I've never tasted a worse meal. We will never return.

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by CB

I could eat here every day! The patty melt is spectacular! Can really taste the difference between a good piece of beef rather than the mediocre meat you get at most restaurants.

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by Drew B

Last night my wife and I visited Crave after her friends and her co-workers raved about it to her. We frequently dine out, so I did not think it would be anything exceptional, but I was mistaken. Crave is among the seemingly few West Des Moines restaurants that still accepts reservations. The bar ambiance and entire building is exceptionally artistic, and my wife liked the relaxing color tones.

We enjoyed the sharp cheddar cheese, which was melted at our table by our knowledgeable, exceptionally professional server. She served us an array of bread, vegetables and apples to dip into our melted cheese. Our Crave Side Salads tasted so exquisite as I'm so tired of every restaurant's standard choice between the garden or caesar side salad. It's refreshing to be offered a unique salad for a change, and my server recommended we come back to try the Strawberry Walnut Salad - we will!

We enjoyed a bottle of Gunderloch, which was definitely the best tasting Riesling I've ever had - and I'm not a Riesling kind of guy. For a bottle of this stuff, the price is a really great value!

My wife chose the chicken, and I chose the teriyaki sirloin, and we split and shared our entrees. We also loved the potatoes and particularly the stuffed mushrooms. Also, we loved the array of sauces.

By dessert, we were stuffed. Then, our waitress brought out the most unique dessert we've ever seen. Her pot of chocolate was accompanied by cheesecake and brownies, strawberries, bananas and my favorite - PINEAPPLE... tastes perfect after dipped in chocolate. Also, our waitress brought out graham crackers and marshmallows and encouraged us to make smores with the chocolate after we roasted our marshmallows on the open flame. I can't wait until my kids grow old enough to make smores - they'll love Crave.

All in all, for all four courses, $69 for two people wasn't a bad value. I now see what her friends were excited for us to try! We will return soon - have no idea what Jessica and Jordan were talking about but hope they come back to give Crave a second try.

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by colin

Reviews all over the board, so found out for myself. Almost didnt because of Jessicas review. Glad I decided not to listen. Martini's were not 8.00, matter of fact the menu was less expensive than the restuarants that she names and the food was better too. The atmoshpere definetly is cool, got to watch the all star game in my own boot with my own tv. Sound like jessica might work for the competion, I couldnt tell you what the names of the items on the menu were, how could she?

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by kelly

our friends highly recomended Crave for a night out, We went over the weekend hoping for a good meal and then a movie but instead spent our enitre evening at the place. We sat on the patio, which is is one of the best we have been at, it does not butt up to a parking lot, instead it overlooks a small park and fountain. Drinks were timely and my Martinis were terrific. our very friendly server let us know of the entertainment that night. The food was too much and delicous but the best part was the chocolate fondue dessert! Later we went inside to enjoy a pretty good band. We would recomend this place to anyone who does not want to waste a night having a babysitter!!

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by Megan Geary

This place needs some serious improvement.
We went there for our anniversary thinking it would be nice to try something new. Big mistake. Our server was brand new and pretty much worthless. We asked 3 times and waited 30 minutes for water. My husband ordered a dirty martini and it came without olives. We both ordered our steaks medium rare and my husbands was way overdone. When we mentioned this to our waiter, he just apologized and offered to do nothing. Then we get our bill and notice that we are charged for the wrong bottle of wine. Instead of receiving the $34 bottle I had requested, we were served a $65 bottle with almost the same name. When I mentioned this to our server he acknowledged it was his error but then the manager came over and blamed us for not noticing the name on the bottle.
When we told her about all of our problems throughout the meal, she merely said "I hope your night gets better".
We are usually pretty laid back when eating out but this was one of the worst dining experiences we have ever had.

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by JessicaM

Thinking this would be a fun place for a little girl's night out, we reserved a table on the patio (grill-side). Everyone had martinis, which are very tasty, very fruity and girly. Unfortunately our lovely patio table wobbled, so all drinks and plates slid several inches down the table. After numerous requests, we got drink napkins, which at least protected our $8 martinis. It's at this point I should note that the service could definitely use some improvement. We all ordered appetizers and salads. Our salads were served first, which was not what we asked for and expected, but whatever. Nothing special here. As I was eating my California salad, I kept wondering what was missing. I realized it was the candied walnuts. Then I look at the bottom of my plate, and see what appears to be ground walnut crummies. My friend had the same complaint with her strawberry salad. If you are going to crumble them to dust, what's the point? Another friend had a cup of fondue soup. She said she wished she was having the beer cheese soup at Granite City. I'll take that as a bad sign for the fondue side. Then very quickly came our appetizers. With 5 different selections, you would think you would have a few winners in the bunch. Not so. The fried olives were the only thing worth getting, and I still can't believe that 7 or 8 olives merits the $9 price. The Crave chicken strips were the only item of value, but lacked the promised kick in the sauce. And also, this is supposed to be a nicer place. Are you seriously telling me that they couldn't serve dips and sauces in actual ramekins and not plastic cups? Even TGI Friday's gives you an actual glass dish. The bruschetta was the most bland I've ever experienced, and the chicken nachos were definitely light on the chicken. Still hungry after plate after plate of marginal food, we went for some dessert fondue. This was good. The plate of dippers is a very nice assortment of items. The chocolate sauce was good, but really, can you screw up melted chocolate? Though at this place I was thinking that was possible. I've heard the fondue is the better choice, but I'm still disappointed. This is a very cool place in an awesome area, I wish the food lived up to the atmosphere.

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by Rhonda

had heard about the chocolate fondue dessert so we stopped in for lunch yesterday. We were pleasantly suprised. For only being open about a month the service was great. We got a lot of food for the price. My husband found his new favorite place for a good burger, I had a some strawberry salad that was wonderful! The atmosphere was a definite bonus, and we will be back to enjoy the bar area. Keep up the good work, we need something different like this in DesMoines

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by Jordan Hojati

Have been twice - the first I gave them the benefit of the doubt, second time was terrible. Don't know about the fondue, but the other food is below average, service was not well trained and very slow, no beer on tap, and they seated us in the back "box" of a room with nobody else in there. The bar area is nice, so it may be a good place to get a drink as long as they don't fall in the Tonic trap.

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by K

The concept is great and a lot of fun, but if you've never done a fondue type meal before be prepared to spend a while trying to figure out what to order! The decor is fashionable yet not overbearing. I can't speak to the grill side of the restaurant but the fondue side can get pretty warm. You have a little stove top in the middle of your table and heated cheese/oil/etc going at all times. Be prepared to shed layers of clothing. Also, they could put some ceiling fans over the tables to disperse the heat and the smoke from too-hot oil on the tables. Overall tho, it seems like it'd be a fun place to gather with friends to try a little something different! The staff is very helpful and eager to please.

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Located in the West Glen Town Center

The Crave Sign The Front of Crave The Entrance to Crave