Cracked Pepper impresses with delicate entrees, appetizer
Restaurant provides slow, eccentric dining experience, pricy menu
Accompanying the Mala-Isana Napolean was the Pappardelle and Sea Scallops that senior Stephan Melendez tried at The Cracked Pepper Bistro located in the Mission Village Shopping Center. The entree consisted of white creamy vanilla orchid vodka infused pasta, creme fraiche sauce, lump crab and topped with golden brown scallops were that covered the pasta.
Have you ever eaten in a place where you feel slightly uncomfortable and think other people are constantly watching you? I felt like that while eating at The Cracked Pepper Bistro, located in the Mission Village Shopping Center as a unique restuarant that many are talking about.
Cacked Pepper is a small restaurant that only caters to those with money burning a hole into their pocket to spend on food, well atleast thats what I observed. Though I have a strong passion for Latin cultural food, I am always willing to try things that are different, and I mean uniquely out of the norm.
This restaurant has been serving the Fresno and Clovis metropolitan area for six years. They offer a miniscule amount of choices on their menu, and overwhelmed by the prices on the side of the menu I was unsure if the price of the plate affected the quality of the dish.
Having made a reservation before helped with quicker seating, only one table was open, and that was in the middle of the restaurant, just for me. I was quickly greeeted by an attentive waiter and offered something to drink. I asked for San Pelligrino, and sadly they did not carry it; so I decided to drink water instead.
About five minutes after being seated I was brought a loaf of hot bread, with a light orange-reddish spread. The bread was crisply browned on the outside and soft in the middle. The roasted red pepper spread consists of roasted red peppers, oven roasted tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, honey, salt, pepper, mayo and olive oil. The bread spread is unique in its taste and quite addictive too, but this is only one of the many different spreads the Cracked Pepper offers.
Being picky, but yet, open minded I called for the waiter's help to decide on an appetizer and a main entree. The waiter, Daniel Register, also manager of The Cracked Pepper, recommended the Mala-Insana Napoleon for a starter and then the Rack of Lamb and the Pappardelle and Sea Scallops as an entree. I chose the the second recommendation because of the scallops, but I almost chose the lamb.
"Though I had to wait about fifteen minutes, I was impressed with the appetizer and its remarkable presentation. The starter consisted of lightly fried pumpkin seed encrusted eggplant stuffed with goat cheese, oven roasted tomatoes and pesto misted with aged balsamic vinegar. The first bite of the eggplant was delicious, I could taste the pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and balsamic all mushing together to create one creamy and crunchy bite." --Stephan Melendez, Writer
Though I had to wait about fifteen minutes, I was impressed with the appetizer and its remarkable presentation. The starter consisted of lightly fried pumpkin seed encrusted eggplant stuffed with goat cheese, oven roasted tomatoes and pesto misted with aged balsamic vinegar. The first bite of the eggplant was delicious, I could taste the pumpkin seeds, goat cheese and balsamic all mushing together to create one creamy and crunchy bite.
Senior Stephan Melendez traveled to The Cracked Pepper and tried two entree's which included the Mala-Isana Napoleon appetizer. The starter consisted of lightly fried pumpkin seed encrusted eggplant stuffed with goat cheese, oven roasted tomatoes and pesto misted with aged balsamic vinegar.
Once finished I was still hungry and boy, I could not wait for my entree; the appetizer was small and not filling. Then again, I am a teenager with a large appetite.
During the almost 40-minute wait, I fiddled with my phone, looked at Facebook and stared into space reminiscing about my day. I had to keep in mind that at the Cracked Pepper their goal is to offer a slow, eccentric dinning experience.
My food finally came, and I was excited. The scallop pasta reminded me of something I would eat every time my family took a vacation in San Francisco. The white creamy vanilla orchid vodka infused pasta, with creme fraiche sauce and lump crab reminded me of an alfredo sauce, but more poignant and less thick. The golden brown scallops were delicious, soft and delicately placed on the dish. Personally, I could have done with out the lump crab, because the taste was overwhelming in some bites.
The Cracked Pepper Bistro is a great place for a first date, anniversary and other special celebrations, but this restaurant is not for everyone. I might choose to return, but that occasion will need to be special. My wallet cannot handle a $74 diner once a week. Though Cracked Pepper is expensive, they do offer lower priced entrees that are sure to do the job.
I may not be a big fan of French food, but I do have to say the Mala-Insana Napoleon was my favorite, and I recommend everyone try that as their appetizer. Besides, the awkward table in the middle of the restaurant, Cracked Pepper offers phenomenal service and a bill you will not forget.
Cracked Pepper Bistro is located on 389 E Shaw Ave, #102 Fresno, CA 93710. To contact them, call 559.222.9119 or visit their website.
For more reviews, read the Sept. 10 article Diner prepares foods with old fashion panache.