Customshop has some great things going on. It is located off the trendy Elizabeth Street, which also boasts food gems like Carpe Diem, Earl’s Grocery and Viva Chicken. They market themselves as offering an eclectic mix of traditional and innovative American dishes inspired by Italian, French, and Spanish cuisine.
Their brick wall exterior boasts a small porch outside with some tables and casual sitting chairs and couches. Their decor is unmatched, giving a true rustic appeal in a building that’s been there for 115 years.
It’s a smaller restaurant inside, but there’s a beautiful long bar that greets you as you walk in, enticing you for a craft, handmade cocktail, a glass of wine from their lengthy wine list, or a local craft beer.
I started with the cucumber basil smash cocktail. I was actually slightly disappointed…it wasn’t that pop of refreshment or zip I was looking for. So rather than ordering a second cocktail for my next drink, I stuck with a safe glass of red wine.
Customshop is all about local ingredients, and sources sustainable ingredients from organic and local producers. They also do nightly specials based on what’s currently available.
We started with the crispy brussel sprouts with maple syrup and the braised pork belly.
The brussel sprouts were nice and crispy and they weren’t overly saturated in maple syrup. A+ for the brussels, B- for the pork belly – I found it to be rather dry.
We next tried the spicy tuna meatballs and the BBQ octopus over fingerling potatoes and chorizo.
I enjoyed both of these dishes. The tuna meatballs weren’t fishy at all. In fact, I wouldn’t even have known they were made with tuna if I hadn’t ordered them. If you’ve never had octopus, it is naturally a bit chewy, so that is to be expected. The chorizo was a great addition/topping (I LOVE chorizo) to the octopus, and the lemon aioli was an obvious winner in my book.
At this point, I was rather full but I still wanted to try the duck for my main meal. The duck was served with black garlic lentils and compressed apricots in a sherry dressing. I loved the lentils and grilled apricot more than the duck, to be honest. They just got me all sorts of excited! The duck was good, don’t get me wrong, but I almost feel like it was undershadowed by the lentils. Either way, this is a dish I would definitely order again.
Ed tried the gnocci and loved it. He’s easy to please, but the portion size was so tiny!
I do think the food is overpriced, and I wasn’t overly “wow-ed” by some of the dishes like I had hoped to have been. However, it’s a classy atmosphere, and great for an intimate date night. The service is very good, and it’s a great environment for ordering many different appetizers or trying craft cocktails.