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January 22, 2022

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Crush: pairing creative cuisine with vintage wines

WINE importer and distributor Elliott Shay and chef Dylan Briley have joined hands to open Crush Wine Bar in the busy, upbeat neighborhood of Shaanxi Road N., bringing unique fine wines and impressive cuisine to the city’s food and beverage scene.

The name Crush comes from the motion of crushing the grapes in winemaking. With high ceilings, golden lights and warm wooden decor complemented by gentle white marble, the elegant design of Crush is inspired by American metropolises like New York and San Francisco, creating a nostalgic vibe that’s perfect for enjoying a glass of fine wine and cuisine.

The wine collection at Crush is unique, especially the interesting vintage selections, as Elliot believes classic wines aged correctly can make a difference, and it’s about finding the right wines and right time to drink them.

Crush offers a fusion-style menu with exciting, creative dishes that won’t be found elsewhere, especially with regard to the mixing and matching of different fresh ingredients and smart ways to combine spices and flavors from different cuisines. It has taken Dylan half a year to craft the new recipes.

“Elliot really wants to focus on the quality of ingredients, so we spent a lot of time working with different suppliers and bringing our inspirations from where we grew up in the US. We describe it as Pacific Northwest fusion,” said Briley.

The establishment emphasizes pairing wine with fine food, and almost everything is freshly made from scratch in the kitchen.

“I think the pairing of wine and food is very important, and I think it’s missing in some places in the city, especially in using very creative flavors and finding the right wines that aren’t traditional pairings so that people can experience more complex flavors,” said Shay.

The house-cured bacon-wrapped Medjool dates stuffed with Marcona almonds and gorgonzola dolce are a hot flavor bomb and perfect bite to start the gastronomic experience of the evening.

The recipe came from Elliot’s memory of a dish he tried in a Boston restaurant 20 years ago.

The house-smoked chicken wings are well seasoned with a special cumin lime marinade, and the strong flavor of the cumin spice is balanced with a lighter toasted coriander yoghurt that also brings some tartness to the tender, flavorful wings.

For the main entries, Yakitori pork belly served with tuna aioli and maple bourbon glaze is an adventurous attempt at pairing red meat with seafood, and The Crusher burger is a symphonic creation stacking a 170-gram house ground M3 wagyu burger, house-cured bacon and smoked provolone in the homemade bun. It also comes with house-made pickles to complement the intense richness.

The tuna tataki is another star, with miso mustard sauce, furikake, pickled ginger, and cilantro that together create a compound flavor that doesn’t overpower the natural umami taste of the fresh tuna.

The veggie dishes at Crush are also bold and rich – tempura-style chimichurri sweet potato, Panzanella and greens salad, and roasted heirloom carrots served with coconut spiced yoghurt.

Crush offers tasting menus with wine pairings, which feature the restaurant’s signature dishes to provide a more complete food and wine experience.

On weekends, Crush serves up brunch sets that are good bargains – a choice of two dishes and a cup of coffee or juice for 198 yuan. Diners can upgrade the menu to include tuna tataki or The Crusher burger for an additional 70 or 20 yuan respectively. The high-ceiling space is especially comfortable on sunny days. Additionally, guests can add free-flow wine and cocktails for another 199 yuan.


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