Ella’s Eats: A Visit to Cru Cafe


Another Charleston gem is Cru Cafe. Located on Pinckney street, near the Charleston market area, this residential-home-turned-restaurant is the epitome of southern charm. Featuring a bar overlooking the kitchen and an overarching historical ambiance, Cru Cafe has an inviting interior with delicious food. The menu consists of southern cuisine, from a renowned mac and cheese dish to fried green tomatoes; this restaurant is the place to go for traditional comfort food. Seating options include an outdoor patio, a porch, a chef’s counter, and tables inside of the home’s former living and dining spaces. During my most recent visit, I sat in the renovated dining room which features beautiful artwork and a fireplace. During the summer, I sat on the porch surrounded by window boxes, making for a welcoming atmosphere. Another great experience is sitting at the Chef’s counter, which allows for watching the chefs cook, a fast-paced and interesting view during your meal. The reconfigured aspect of the building adds to this southern feel, making Cru Cafe an enjoyable place to dine. Apart from the food and location, the restaurant’s service is also pristine, featuring kind and attentive people. Let’s dig in!

If you’ve read any of my previous restaurant reviews, you know that my go-to drink is a glass of lemonade. The lemonade at Cru Cafe was a perfect mix of tart and sweet, so if you love lemonade, you’ll love this. To start with appetizers, I ordered fried oysters ($10,) a caesar salad($12.25,) a caprese salad ($14.50,) and a soup of the day which ended up being a red pepper soup. The fried oysters were absolutely delicious, a star of the meal, featuring about six oysters that are fried in a buttermilk batter. These oysters had great flavor and I would definitely order them again during my next visit. The red pepper soup was a great blend of spicy flavors, which was perfect for the cold weather. The caesar salad had an enjoyable ratio of dressing to lettuce and featured large sourdough croutons. While it was an enjoyable dish, if you plan on ordering a lot of food in the entree department, this salad is not a must-have. My favorite and go-to appetizer option is the caprese salad. On my most recent visit, the dish consisted of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, red pepper garnish and crostini bread. In the summertime, the restaurant uses larger tomatoes, and I think that this dish definitely tastes fresher in the summer, specifically with the mozzarella.

Cru Cafe’s true gem, in my opinion, is their macaroni and cheese dish. This is a hefty amount of four-cheese macaroni ($10.25) that arrives at the table sizzling hot. The flavors in this pasta dish are really compelling and are a staple to the menu, one that I would 100% recommend to anyone looking to visit Cru Cafe. Another great entree choice is the poblano and mozzarella fried chicken ($29) which is mushroom & cheese stuffed chicken, served with a side of rice and daily vegetables. The chicken was very flavorful and the stuffed aspect added an interesting component to the dish. Additionally, the rice was a great side option with delicious seasoning. My favorite entree that I have ordered is the grilled basil shrimp dish ($29) which has orecchiette pasta, shrimp, sausage, and a mix of vegetables that adorn the plate. This was a filling entree and had a vast array of flavor. Finally, the thai seafood risotto ($30) was cooked to perfection and the seafood was incredible, consisting of shrimp, mussels, and a daily fish.

Last but not least, Cru Cafe’s array of desserts are all delicious choices. I had the creamsicle cake which had an orange and vanilla flavor. The cake was very moist and had a buttercream frosting that was not too sweet. It was a delicious ending to a superb meal. Overall, Cru Cafe’s stellar hospitality and food makes for a wonderful experience and a place that you should definitely try!

Cru Cafe has an inviting interior with delicious food.

— Ella Chapman