KC Crave

by ERIN THURSBY
One of the newer eateries in Jacksonville Beach, KC Crave has become a hit. It’s an upscale bar with excellent food and live TV. The surroundings are dark paneled wood, contrasted with cream-colored seating and a well-executed fire-and-ice theme. (During the holidays, the “ice” is green-lit, to go with the red fire, for temporary Christmas flair.)
If you’re looking for a trendy bar/hang-out that actually serves good food and doesn’t have walls covered in dollar bills signed by drunken patrons, this is the bar for you. While there, I saw girl-friends out together, couples out for a fun night and double dates at the tap tables. Ages ranged from late twenty-somethings to somewhat older couples in their 50s. While I’m sure they would serve kids, the atmosphere is not family-oriented.
The tap tables are worth a mention, as it’s one of the unique draws. Each table has two taps from a local brewery. Patrons can pour their own without having to flag down a waitress or just sample a few ounces. Electronics keep track of the amount poured, and the wait staff programs the amount you’re allowed, based on the number of people at your table, which they can reactivate at their discretion. Reservations are key, especially on a weekend. You have to have a minimum of four people, and they require a deposit of $100.
Their sirloin is slow-cooked and then finished by being seared on the grill. This prep makes for an extra tender sirloin. I sampled one of their specials, a fire-grilled sirloin, topped with lobster and a lightly sweet sherry sauce. You might be a little hesitant to go for a steak topped with lobster, but don’t fear: this is a sensational pairing. On their regular menu I can definitely recommend the filet mignon medallions. The three medallions come wrapped in bacon, with just a touch of smoked Gouda fondue, served with grilled red peppers and onions.
Keep in mind that KC Crave is all about sharing, starters and small plates. That means that the portions aren’t huge entrees and are meant to be shared around the table. I could definitely make a meal out of their Hawaiian poke (served stylishly in a martini glass), but your mileage may vary. Ask about the specials if you’d like more or aren’t into sharing, or you can add a side AND a salad to your small or sharing plate to make it an entree for just $7. Prices vary from $7 to $16 on their regular menu.
As far as sides go, I give a big thumbs up to the wasabi mashed potatoes. Even the spice-shy can eat this without fear of the usual wasabi sinus clearing properties. Instead, it’s just a touch that adds depth to a traditional flavor profile. The wasabi mashed potatoes add an extra something to a dish that’s already a clear winner. They’re served with the pistachio lamb lollipops, their flavor highlighting the mint vinaigrette and the heavy pistachio crust on New Zealand lamb.
Drink prices are decent for the beaches, with signature martinis coming in at $8, cocktails at $7 and beers from $3.50-$5. They also feature some $5 martinis, featuring 360 DEGREE Vodka, the first eco-friendly distilled spirit.
I fell in love with the Henway martini. It’s sweet, but balanced enough to not be too sweet. It’s Crave’s signature martini, a blend of vodka, triple sec, white cranberry and lime. What makes it unique is the chilled ball of orange mango “yolk.” For a twist on sangria, try their coconut sangria. Because it’s got a touch of coconut water and doesn’t include any hard liquor, it’s a perfect drink if you’re a bit of a light-weight.
If you do save room for dessert, they don’t have any on their regular menu, but this holiday season they offer a dynamite pumpkin crème brulee.
Check them out at kccrave.com or just drive to KC Crave, located in the former Giovanni’s on Beach Boulevard. Do expect that you’ll have to use their complimentary valet parking, because parking is at a premium.

About FOLIO

april, 2022

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