Fame is a treacherous double-edged sword. On the one edge: Had I walked into a regular diner or coffee shop, ordered a chicken salad sandwich and chicken pot pie, and received the equivalent of what I got at Crumb On Parchment, I would have been rather satisfied.
But it was surprising that in a lunch spot owned and operated by Michelle Bernstein, the only sandwich breads offered for most sandwiches are white bread and white-ish whole wheat. Even most coffee shops and diners also offer a kaiser roll or something -- and many modern lunch shops boast all manner of baguettes, country breads, multi-grain rolls, etc. How good can a sandwich be if it's on the equivalent of toasted Wonder Bread? We saw some ciabatta breads going out, but it was explained to us that it was only available if you got the rotisserie chicken sandwich.
The chicken salad was pedestrian -- chicken, mayo, some celery and stuff -- nothing to differentiate it from one you'd find anywhere. Alongside the sandwich comes choice of green salad or grain salad. We chose the latter from our glum counterman: Israeli couscous tossed with minced bits of vegetables and tomato and little in the way of seasoning (re: bland). The sandwich was $9.95.
Still, it beat the salad of greens that accompanied the pot pie. The romaine leaves used were brown-edged, tossed with a few carrot shreds and a touch of olive oil. The pot pie ($10) brought moist chicken morsels with peas, carrots and corn in a very tasty cream sauce -- topped with shredded wheat. I prefer my pot pie to have a real crust, but that's just a personal thing. Plus I might have been disappointed because the baked goods here look mighty tempting, so I was envisioning a nice buttery pastry crust.
We waited more than twenty minutes for this lunch -- and those seated around us in the very pretty, spacious, and comfortable atrium dining room were also kept waiting; some plates around us were returned due to some mixup. Maybe the staff was having a bad day. It happens. A good manager on hand can be a boon in times like this, but there didn't appear to be a manager on hand.
We had also ordered a bowl of gazpacho, which arrived some minutes after the rest of the lunch. It was worth the wait -- a smooth and refreshing rendition ($5.50).
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Excepting the aforementioned counterman, servers were quite friendly and hard working. One of them even offered us a free dessert (due to our apparently being overcharged a dollar for the couscous salad that comes with the sandwich). Unfortunately we couldn't stay for dessert as lunch ran later than expected.
Our soup, sandwich, and pot pie, with tax, came to $28.57. Add beverages and tip and it's $20 per. The food was fresh and homemade, but one expects a little something sharper from a famous chef. The name nabs the publicity and business (edge number one), but the bar is set higher (the contrasting edge).
At the very least, let's get some decent sandwich bread on board.