Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Crafted: The Art of Street Food

Kristina Fuller set the bar high when her restaurant Crafted: The Art of The Taco opened in Greensboro. When rumors of a new restaurant beside Preyer Brewing Company started swirling, people started surmising, what will it be the “Art of” this time? When it was finally revealed, I was intrigued by the "Street Food" concept, and knew that if anyone had the guts and talent to pull it off, it would be Fuller and Co. I dined there last night. My mind was totally blown. It was everything I was hoping for, and far exceeded my expectations. The place was packed, and it proves that Greensboro wants new spots like this – if you build it, we will drop everything and flock there.

The menu is broken up into 4 sections: Snacks, Latin America/Caribbean, Asia and Sweets. Whilst perusing, my dining partner and I sipped on the Scottish Cuke (a refreshing blend of Hendricks Gin, Elderflower Liqueur, Muddled Cucumber and Lime) and the Cackalacky Manhattan (TOPO Whiskey, Bitters and Sweet Vermouth). A complimentary basket of fresh popcorn sprinkled with Cumin appeared. This was going to be a very good evening.
Cheers!
Entrees are served in either small or large portions – 2 small was just perfect for me, though I wanted to order a small everything. One of my favorite Asian dishes is the Bao, a steamed Chinese milk bun stuffed with deliciously yummy things. They aren’t the easiest to find in these parts. My eyes were immediately drawn to it on her menu, and it’s one of the best renditions I’ve ever had. A generous amount of Pork Belly and Braised Pork fill the pillow-like bun, atop a bed of tangy, crunchy Kimchi. Add a drizzle of Hoisin Sauce, a sprinkling of Scallions and a whole lot of Cilantro to round it out. Not kidding you – Cilantro for days, nay, YEARS. I literally died for this dish. It was a balanced flavor bomb. Utter perfection.
Cilantro for days, nay, YEARS.
Just when I thought life couldn’t get any better, I dug into my dish of Prawn Sambal. Three large, juicy prawns (with the tail on) are coated in a spicy chili sauce, atop the most wonderful chilled, slightly sweet Coconut Rice. The cool sweetness of the Coconut Rice is a great match to the heat of the Prawns, and the ample use of earthy Cilantro in their dishes gets them an A++. Choosing between this and the Bao would be like choosing my favorite child. (I could do it, but I wouldn't admit it publicly.)
Prawn Sambal, I adore you.
The Cubano is a non-traditional presentation, served on its side and on thicker bread than the usual pressed baguette. Pork Belly and Braised Pork are substantial, with Swiss Cheese and Pickled Veggies furthering the unctuousness of the sandwich. Dijon Aioli is drizzled on top and is a nice cooling acid.

Jerk Chicken
My dining partner claimed Fuller's Jerk Chicken to be the best he's ever had. In the small portion, you get a Leg and a Thigh, resting on Yellow Rice with Kidney Beans and Gravy.The heat level was tolerable for milder palates, and the spices didn't give an overt punch to your taste buds, as you can sometimes find with Jerk. This is an outstanding rendition. 

I had room for dessert (my favorite part of any meal), and the Rice Pudding with Vanilla Bean and Coconut, Chocolate Sauce and Caramel seemed like an appropriate palate cleanser. Served cold, the rice still has a bite, but the Vanilla Bean and Coconut Cream is good enough to slurp through a straw. A whimsical spiral of Chocolate and served in a tea cup, this is a sweet way to end one of the best meals ever.

Rice Pudding
It will be hard to not get this exact same order upon my next visit, but I know everything else will be just as exceptional. I was tempted to return tonight for dinner. If you haven't been yet, holler at your girl. I will gladly accompany you.

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