Friday, September 30, 2022

Crawford and Son

Crawford and Son in Raleigh has been on my list since I moved here a year ago. It was most recently named "Restaurant of the Year" by Raleigh Magazine, so I decided I couldn't wait much longer to check it out. I have to agree with the masses - this is perhaps the finest establishment in Raleigh. From the food, to the atmosphere, to the service, it's a 10/10. They change their menu seasonally, so that gives you at least 4 excuses each year to go. It's dim, but not too dim - very grayscale with lots of slate. It's small, but not too noisy - noise-dampening panels mostly help keep volume to a minimum. Water glasses were never less than half full. It's clear why this won such a prestigious award. I totally get the hype.

Since I'm still off the sauce, I was excited to see not one but TWO spirit-free options. I opted for the Mini Jammer, a beautifully balanced Blueberry, Ginger and Lemongrass sip. We were tempted by two appetizers so we opted for them both. The revered Manchego-Herb Biscuits need to stay on the menu permanently. 4 come in an order and they're crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and cheesy and herbaceous as promised. They're utterly addicting and are great for breakfast the next day (if there are any left).

The Sweet Corn Risotto is sensational. The sweetness of the corn echoes the sweetness from the crab, and a light, slightly funky Parmesan Mousse rests atop. Flavors of Dill permeate the dish, bringing a nice earthiness. It's super rich and actually really great scooped up by a bite of biscuit. 

Swordfish can be hit or miss for me, but Crawford knows how to handle it. A beautiful, thick, white filet was cooked to perfection - still glistening on the inside - and sat atop a Tomato and Olive emulsion. It's served with Tabbouleh and a Cucumber and Olive Salsa. This was a really unique flavor combination - I love olives but the olive flavor almost overwhelmed the entire dish. The fish itself was great, as was the tabbouleh, but this sauce was a little strong for me.

My husband's Pork Chop was outstanding, particularly the creamy Farro that accompanied it. We think the pork was sous vide because it was super thick and cooked perfectly all the way through - how in the world could they have pulled this off otherwise? Tomatoes and Squash were nestled in the farro, and the pork had subtle flavors of Peach and Mustard. If I had known how fabulous this was going to be, I would have ordered it myself. It was a rich dish that ate light.

Would you believe that a sugar fiend such as myself was too full for dessert? Alas, my husband let me try a bite of his Dirty Chai Custard, and while I wasn't too excited by the sound of Chocolate and Chai together (I'm a weirdo, I know), I admit I snuck several bites. A moist Dark Chocolate Cake is covered with a slightly spiced Chai Custard, which read more like a light chocolate pudding, topped with crunchy Hazelnuts, Feuilletine and Whipped Cream. Like my mocktail, it was perfectly balanced and really what every pastry chef strives for. We were thoroughly impressed.

Do yourself a favor and make a reservation at Crawford and Son. I'm already seeing some changes to the menu from when we went a week ago, so if you haven't been in a while, now's the time to revisit. And for first-timers, prepare to be wowed.

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