Half Off the Red Crane

Thanks again to Town Hog, we bought a $50 gift certificate for half off for Red Crane. I read about this restaurant while scouring Yelp for some good restaurants in the Cupertino area, but some other people had recommended it as well.  Although the reviews were good, I couldn’t help but be a little wary because it serves Asian Fusion cuisine.  Even though I like Asian Fusion, I have to admit that I have had not so good Asian Fusion more often than good Asian Fusion.  In concept it sounds very appetizing, but for whatever reason, it isn’t always as well executed.

The menu is pretty simple which made it very easy to order.  For appetizers, we stayed relatively safe and had the Salmon Tartare and the Karaage Spiced Calamari.

The Salmon Tartare was good serving of salmon mixed with avocados, and it was topped with a layer of seaweed salad and stack of fried wonton chips. The tartare was a little creamier and had more avocados than other tartares that I have had. In spite of the heavier mayo/aioli-like consistency, I still thought it was very good. It was well-seasoned, but I think the cream did end up masking the taste of the salmon a bit. The seaweed salad did help to balance the creaminess, but then the wonton chips were a little oily, so in the end although I thought it was good, I couldn’t help but feel my arteries clogging. In spite of all that, I would probably still order the dish again.

The Karaage Spiced Calamari was a little bit more disappointing mainly because the batter was a little too thick almost doughy.  The calamari lacked a little bit of seasoning and the pesto aioli which was served on the side tasted a little bland so it couldn’t help add any more flavor. The squid rings weren’t too chewy though.  This was good, but it still couldn’t save the dish. Not that this was bad, but I’ve definitely had  better calamari elsewhere.  I have to say that at least the serving size was good.

For the main dishes, we ordered the Rainbow Chirashi and Char Sui Marinated Alaskan Black Cod.  I was a little bit hesitant to order any sushi, because I didn’t think it would be good. However, since there were only a few main entrees to choose from, the Rainbow Chirashi ended up floating on to the list. Chirashi included a couple pieces of the typical sushi, salmon, tuna, yellowtail, scallop and soft-shell crab. The sushi tasted fine, not necessarily fresh but not bad either. It just tasted mediocre. The presentation of the chirashi was probably the best thing, but unfortunately, the sauces were useless.

The Char Sui Marinated Alaskan Black Cod was very interesting. Rather than the typical take on seabass with a miso-based marinade, they used char sui seasoning which is normally used for the Chinese-style BBQ pork.  It was interesting, because it reminded me so much of the BBQ pork. Unfortunately, it was a little bit too much like BBQ pork.  Not only was the taste there, but the texture of the fish was a little too tough. I expected a tender, oily texture to the sea bass, but it was kind of dry and hard. I was thinking that the fish might have been overcooked, but now I’m thinking that maybe it wasn’t sea bass at all. Maybe it was some other kind of fish that was a little less fatty. Suffice to say, I was a little disappointed.

Although the meal up to this point was a bit mixed, we decided to try the Panna Cotta Trio which included passion fruit, mango and lychee.  It tasted pretty good, but it was kind of a lame dessert.  The panna cotta pudding was the same in each cup, and all they did was add a different flavored syrup to each one. The panna cotta itself was dense and flavorful, but the syrups were a little too sweet.  I think my favorite one was the mango though.

Overall, I came out of the meal feeling a little mixed. There seemed to be a lot of the potential in the food with some of the flavors, but sometimes the dish either lacked flavor or wasn’t executed well. I was glad that we had a Town Hog certificate though, because considering how much the bill could have been, I definitely felt a lot better than how I could have felt if we paid the full price. I would consider going back again, but only with another certificate, because I really don’t think the food is worth the price they charge.

Red Crane
7335 Bollinger Road
Cupertino, CA 95014

PAFO Ratings for Red Crane:
Price 3 ½ stars
Ambiance 3 ½ stars
Food 3 stars
Overall rating 3 stars

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