CRAVE will make your tastebuds go wild


photo by Arielle Gordon

Chef Joel Hassanali’s specialites include foods local to Maryland.

By Arielle Gordon, Arts Editor

CRAVE Bethesda: American Kitchen & Sushi Bar is the latest restaurant to be garnering attention from the CHS community.

CRAVE is a full-service lunch and dinner restaurant that offers a wide variety of dishes, from classic American comfort food to exotic sushi. It is the first location on the East Coast, but there are six other locations around the country.

“From fresh salads and sushi, to hearty entrees and flatbreads, there’s something for everyone at CRAVE,” CRAVE Bethesda General Manager Michelle Went said.

The restaurant offers a lunch menu, a dinner menu, a sushi menu, a dessert menu, a take-out menu, a gluten-free lunch menu and a gluten-free dinner menu. Each gluten-free menu offers over 20 options.

According to Executive Chef Joel Hassanali, each executive chef also has a lot of freedom to create items at his or her own restaurant. Hassanali likes to incorporate ingredients specific to Maryland, such as rockfish and crab, onto the menu. He also incorporates his Caribbean background into many of his dishes.

In addition to the standard lunch and dinner menus, customers are also able to order from the chef’s special menu. The chef’s special menu offers five to seven chef-created items that are unique to each restaurant.

In addition to using a wide variety of local and exotic ingredients, CRAVE makes sure that all of the dishes they serve are cooked with fresh, high quality ingredients.

“Our sushi is flown in fresh daily from around the world,” Went said. “We make it a policy never to allow food to leave the kitchen if there is a question about its quality.”

To ensure that there is always something new for customers, CRAVE changes their menu approximately every six months. They are currently serving their spring/summer menu. They also offer a fall/winter menu.

Some of the entrées can be a little pricy, as a burger was about $16 and the sushi ranges from about $8-14. The portion sizes are average.

According to Went, CRAVE is also in the process of adding more, less expensive
“small plate” options to the menu.

Cheaper options may make CRAVE a more appealing dining destination for students.
Upon dining at CRAVE, I was pleased. The staff was very friendly and made sure that I had everything I needed or wanted.

The restaurant is large and dimly lit. The overall ambiance is nice and intimate; however it was quite loud inside, and some of the tables were located in close proximity to one another.

I thoroughly enjoyed what I ate. I split the California sushi and Strauss Free Raised Grass Fed Burger with another person. Both dishes tasted fresh and were filling.

CRAVE opens at 11a.m., which gives seniors enough time to get lunch and get back on time. The options on the lunch menu are generally cheaper than the dinner menu.