CHECK OTHER REVIEWS FOR THIS PLACE:
Time to Try the Casper & Gambini's Version of the Cronut (Discontinued)
Do You Know What Happened to Casper?
Casper & Gambini's AUB: A Stand-Alone Restaurant
Sushi at Casper & Gambini's: Seriously?
Casper&Gambini's: The Comeback!
Breakfast at Casper&Gambini's ABC Achrafieh
Casper&Gambini's: An Improved Menu and New Decor
Casper & Gambini's: Delivering Breakfast to the Office
I never imagined that one day I could actually be enjoying lunch with three kids in the heart of a mall on a busy Sunday. Arrive early, secure a table and have yourself guided through the experience. At Casper, they have a kids menu and a placemat for your little ones to enjoy a moment of creativity. Burgers, tenders, hotdogs, fries, and pasta are the choices.
Even though located in the heart of the mall with a panoramic view of everyone passing, it felt calm and serene. My kids enjoyed their time looking at people, I ordered lunch and chitchatted with my family. Tony, who was serving us, has been working here for 12 long years handling the floor professionally as though the restaurant was his own.
Some items are good others not; excellent service but unfortunately Tony is leaving work soon. Let’s go through the controversial experience of an excellent sandwich and a disastrous veal escalope.
One major problem you have to know about: everything - except the sushi - contains garlic, yes... everything! Garlic powder and even fresh garlic could be found in my kids' burgers' patties - you can smell it. And the question is; why the garlic? Doesn’t the chef know how to value the real flavors of the food? Are we hiding something here?
My starter: Pumpernickel slices of bread topped with smoked salmon and cream cheese, served with a mountain of greens. This particular bread is soft and lightly sweet with a load of nuts, cream cheese for well, creaminess, and premium quality salmon.
Three soft buns stuffed with fresh crab and shrimp. A roll a-la-Casper and it works! Juicy hearts of real crab and raw shrimp, a soft bun of the kind usually used for hotdogs, balanced flavor, a bit of sauce and chips on the side.
The escalope de veau with garlic!!! It’s unprecedented! I can’t describe it as being “not good or not tasty,” it’s disgusting! Close your eyes and feel it; roasted chicken with a load of garlic! This is a mistake that is worth kicking the chef out for. I tried my kid's burger too out of pure curiosity. In Arabic “ya 3ayb el choum”. A disaster... kafta meat loaded with garlic inside chewy bread. Garlic inside a burger? I can’t even express my disappointment.
The fig and Camembert sandwich was spot on. Grilled masterfully to give a kick of toast and flames, the soft yet crunchy bread is loaded with melted Camembert and a spread of fig jam. Sweet and hearty, every ingredient adds value; moist shiitake mushrooms, lightly sweet fig chutney and crunchy walnuts go together beautifully with the melted cheese. This is a superb sandwich - it reminded me of the provolone steak I had a couple of months ago which had left me amazed.
Sushi: the rice is not sticky and not sweet, but unfortunately the crisps are sticky and stale. Fast food sushi like all the casual Japanese diners do it without the unpleasant mayonnaise. The sushi rolls are good enough for Casper.
- The black boards used as plates are good looking but not practical at all. Let’s stick to white plates; it fits more with the concept anyway.
- Get a chef who understands flavors and doesn't try to cover everything with spices and garlic.
Let's Cruffin for dessert: after trying the original Cruffin of San Francisco at Mr. Holmes, it was time to try Casper’s. Cruffin for “croissant and muffin” should be flaky like a croissant and moist like a muffin is, in fact, a multi-layered cake. Here one with pastry cream, one with chocolate and one with raspberry jam. Crunchy on the outside but unfortunately undercooked on the inside, Casper’s cruffin needs much more butter and a more balanced baking technique. The chocolate is the best of the three - softer, smoother and filled with Nutella but again, the layers are too thick and uncooked, the envelope is too crunchy for a contrasting very chewy heart. Mr. Holmes is still the best at baking Cruffins exactly like Dominique Ansel is for Cronuts. How to do it: thinner layers of dough, more butter and finish the cruffin with an envelope of crunchy sugar.
Had a two hour lunch at ABC Dbayeh, met some friends, enjoyed my sandwich and the kids had a pleasant time at the playground.