Cress, the DeLand restaurant headed by the heralded Hari Pulapaka, will celebrate its seventh anniversary on August 29 by changing its concept.
Actually, there will be two concepts: Counter Cress and Taste Cress. Counter Cress, Pulapaka explained, has nothing to do with the type of seating. Instead, it will offer more casual dining (counter, I suppose, to the finer dining experience of Cress 1.0) featuring a la carte selections that have been popular on Cress’s menus over the past seven years.
Taste Cress will offer three prix fixe dining options of three- or five-course tasting menus, each with choices from categories labeled “Small,” “Big” and “Last,” or a Chef’s Tasting menu that will be at Pulapaka’s whim. Each of the tasting menus has the option of wine pairings selected by Cress co-owner Jenneffer Pulapaka, who handles the restaurant’s wine program.
Hari Pulapaka explained that the dining room will be partitioned to separate the Counter Cressers from the Tasters. Also, those opting for the Taste experience will get full attention from either Pulapaka or his sous chef, Derek Peters, from the greeting to taking the order to serving the food. The idea, he said, is to make every table a chef’s table. At least every table on the right side of the partition. Costs will be $35, $55 and $60 for the three Taste options, or $50, $75 and $80 with wine pairings.
Also, um, counter to what most restaurants enjoying continued success would do, Cress will cut back on its days of service. Beginning with the new concept on the 29th, Cress will be open for dinner only Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Beginning Sept. 6, Cress will offer a Sunday brunch, the only meal that will be served that day.
I’m sure the Sunday brunch will be popular for many people in MetrOrlando who have wanted to visit the DeLand restaurant but loathed the thought of a nighttime drive back down I-4.
As I reported earlier, Team Cress is fresh off of a big cooking competition win in New Orleans.
Cress is at 103 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand. The phone number is 386-734-3740.