I went downtown to try Craftwork (again) for a friends birthday. It was a lovely evening filled with great food, friends, and conversation. I really love the decor of the bar area. It's a non-pretentious atmosphere with community seating. And the food really did hit all the right notes. The first time I came here (when they first opened) I wasn't too impressed. The service was slow and the appetizers I got did not rock my world. In fact, some of them were even over done. I did really like the area and the atmosphere and ultimately that's what brought me back. I try not to judge new restaurants on their opening weeks because it takes time to get into the flow of things. Again, I'm very glad I gave Craftwork another shot.
The Beyonce of the evening was, and I can't believe I'm even saying this, but it was the blue cheese and arugula salad. Everyone at the tables' forks seemed to be finding it. The balance and the textures were pitch perfect. It had fig dressing, fried, crispy apple straws and ginger. It was surrounded by marinated blue cheese, crusted with some type of nut. Superb!
Next up was the fried chicken. Which I can't help but order on any menu. For 15 dollars you get quite a large meal that you can share, as we all did. It comes with mashed potatoes and bacon braised greens. The chicken lacked a certain crunch and seasoning that I particularly love. This fried chicken was fine and I would get it again in the future. However, I just won't be craving it enough to make the drive.
Ahhhh the Happy Specials. Craftwork has a nice selection of delicious bites. On the drink side the wine pours were decent and probably would meet the everyday wine drinker's expectations for $5. There are some $3 beer specials as well as $6 craft cocktails. Though the food selection looks like your regular fare (fish and veggie tacos, cheeseburger, chickpeas, guac and chips, and fries) the taste places them a notch above just regular bar food.
The guacamole is flavorful and the chips are freshly fried. You can get more chips if you ask, but I'm not sure if we were charged extra or not, but the amount of guacamole is more than you can dip. The chickpeas this time around were very tasty. The first time I had them they were kind of dry and hard. I was even hesitant to get them again, but I was more than satisfied with the fried texture and lemony dressing this time.
The fish taco has the potential to be good, but lacked in its ability to deliver fresh flavors (no balance of spice and citrus... no spice or citrus at all...). The biggest 'meh' of the evening was the burger. It tasted just like the Mcdonald's Big Mac with it's thousand island type dressing and melted cheese. It was a fine size for a happy hour burger, but lacked in it's toppings AND it was overcooked. That is what killed this burger for me. I hope they take more time and reevaluate how they craft this burger. For $5 dollars I expected a little more from this burger since you can get a decent burger in the range of 7-12 dollars that are bigger, have more toppings, and are more flavorful. A place with the word 'craft' in their name should take more time in crafting their food - even lowly food like the happy hour specials. This is what sets restaurants apart and this is what brings customers, like me, back.
All in all I was very happy with the experience and I would come back again to try out other menu items.
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.