Cru was conceived as a hip destination to experience fine wine through fun, if gimmicky, flights of red and white wine, with names like Sexy Reds and Better Blends. You get three, 2-ounce pours—and a chance to taste wines from around the world. Good times.

The place itself is cute in a European sort of way, with too-close-together tables, dark woods, dim lights, and walls painted with wine labels. Too bad the food is hit-and-miss. To be fair, we only selected from the Sharing Menu, and maybe we just ordered poorly. Sesame-crusted ahi was fine, with the expected rare center. The accompanying balsamic reduction, though, threatened to overwhelm the fish. Steak pizza was just a steak salad dressed in balsamic vinaigrette on a soggy and salty crust—a foundation we could have done without. Cheese fondue with white truffle oil arrived too runny to cling to the cubes of bread, pears, and apples and carrot sticks, and a tiny tea light failed to keep the fondue warm.

Plump little mussels steamed in white wine, lemon grass, shallots, garlic, and parsley were really pretty good—no grit or chew in the pot. But we had to dig deep beneath a pile of shells to find that tasty broth. However, when we realized the accompanying bread was oily and chewy—not the crusty baguette we longed for—it made broth dunking seem futile, anyway.

Wine flights were right-on, and we discovered two wines we’ll look for on our next trip to the liquor store: Chateau Lassegue Grand Cru ’03 from St. Emillion, France, and Jekel “Sanctuary” ’01 from Arroyo Seco, California. On our next trip to Cru, we’ll be ordering from the dinner menu.

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