Crafted: The Art of the TacoFeb 6th, 2013 | By Rae Alton | Category: Eatsboro
When my friend Ben, a grumpy biochemist, came in from out of town and wanted to go to dinner someplace that “doesn’t have to be complicated” I was in crisis mode. This is someone who has teased me for using canned pasta sauce.
Doesn’t have to be complicated, my ass.
I decide that Crafted! The Art of the Taco has the most promise: a menu chock-full of imaginative tacos with stylish, “hipster” names (a la “The Fixie”) under the inspired direction of Chef Kristina Fuller, recent winner of the competition dining series Fire in the Triad. Fuller and her mother, Rhonda, also own The Bistro at Adam’s Farm. I had high expectations for taste and was not disappointed.
From the moment we choose a table, the wait staff is attentive, welcoming, and knowledgeable. All libations except wine are served out of adorable mason jars, which tells you a little bit about the character of the self-proclaimed ‘taco joint’. Also, Pabst Blue Ribbon is priced at only $1.50. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Snack Bar. But it would be negligent of me not to mention the wide variety of craft beers available, which is simply excellent branding on the Fullers’ part.
Something about me: I worship the avocado. I would eat them with every meal if it were financially feasible for me to do so. I’d heard peripheral whispers about the stuffed avocado appetizer in hushed tones as if it weren’t street legal… hey man, you tried that stuffed avocado yet? Oh broh – broh – ballin’. This dish is something I’ve been dying to try ever since October 23rd, 2012, when Crafted first opened its door. It is half of an avocado, stuffed with chorizo, queso dip, and pico de gallo, garnished with cilantro.
I, being small of stomach, order the stuffed avo appetizer as my entree and decide to try a side of sweet potato chips. When our server delivers our plates, I gaze upon the avocado with a lump of disappointment in my throat. The avocado… it’s so… tiny. In retrospect, I’m not sure I would have been able to finish half of a regular-sized avocado by myself, but a table of four definitely would.
However. The taste. Of this dish. It gives me pause. The room becomes brighter. The music softens to a calm, echoed hush. Trying to get a bite of chorizo, avo, and tomato on every bite of tortilla is messy, but I don’t care. I’m in love. I could have chorizo in my hair and not give a single damn.
As far as taste goes, I feel it’s a real victory for Elm Street to have this dish.
If you’ve never experienced the delight of a hot, freshly-fried flour tortilla, you need to stop whatever it is that you are doing – whatever you think is more important than eating freshly-fried flour tortillas – and eat a freshly-fried flour tortilla (try saying that five times fast.) I feel like a lot of the restaurants downtown would skimp on this, see the sole novelty in a stuffed avocado and cut corners by using pita triangles or corn tortilla chips, because blue corn chips are the crutch of desperate sports-bar chefs. It would be a senseless, crying shame if Crafted ever cuts this corner.
The sweet potato chips are fried fresh in-house and sprinkled with course, minimal salt. They are served with a sweet chipotle aioli, which isn’t spicy in the least (the word ‘chipotle’ might scare off fellow wimps) and complements the smoky taste of the darkly-fried chips in a unique, convivial way.
Ben orders “The Messenger”, which is a specialty taco made with chorizo, scrambled egg, potatoes, pico de gallo, avocado, and queso fresco crumbles, garnished with cilantro. I don’t dare offend him by asking to try a bite, but he rates it 8 out of 10, citing “yours looks better than mine.” With each specialty taco entree, consisting of 2 tacos, you’ll get a slice of lime and a side. Ben chooses rice, which I catch him closing his eyes to savor, so it must be delicious.
He’s a fan of spicy food, the kind that exfoliates the inside of your nose, yet he struggles to find a dip spicy enough to satisfy his diabolical palate. I suppose it might be worth it to ask the waitperson to kick up the spice upon placing your order, if you’re as sadistic to your tongue and respiratory system as Ben.
Daily taco specials adorn the chalkboard on the sidewalk in front of their space at 219 South Elm. Some of the recent specials have been elaborate and striking: falafel tacos with maple tahini, 3 pigs in a blanket tacos (pulled pork, bacon, and chorizo), and pulled pork tacos with apple-jalapeño slaw.
Crafted! The Art of the Taco
219-A S. Elm Street, Greensboro | Map
Phone: (336) 273-0030
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 9:30pm. Closed Sunday-Monday.
Pricing: $5.95 – $9.95 for entrees.
Vegetarian friendly: Yes. Vegan options are also available.
Family Friendly: Yes
Take Out/Dine In: Both
Ambiance: Elevated casual
Overall Rating: 9/10