Spiced Apple Pop Tart
Almond Kouign Amann
Pecan Sticky Bun
Smoked Salmon – Housemade Pretzel Roll, Sliced Tomato, Cream Cheese, Shaved Red Onions, Fried Capers, Micro-greens
Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes – Fresh Marinated Strawberries, Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
Chorizo Scramble Skillet – Scrambled Cage-free Eggs, Chorizo, Onions, Cheddar Cheese, Spiced Smashed Potatoes, Micro-cilantro
Cranberry White Chocolate French Toast – White Chocolate Cream Sauce
Sweet Potato Fries – Maple Bacon Aioli
Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich – Shredded Port, Rapini, Crispy Garlic, Provolone, Italian Sesame Bread
Nonna’s Chicken Cacciatore – Breaded Braised Chicken Stewed in Tomato Sauce, Button Mushrooms, Creamy Parmesan Mascarpone Polenta
Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with Crème Anglaise
Chocolate Buche de Noel
Seasonal Gift Basket with CRAFTkitchen Blend Coffee, Chewy Granola, White Chocolate Nut Clusters, Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters, Peppermint Bark, English Toffee
Crossing the one year mark and still packing the place with patrons from Henderson as well as Las Vegas, Jaret Blinn’s ever-changing weekend brunch at CRAFTkitchen proves difficult to resist even for those as far away as the city’s northwest reaches, this Saturday and Sunday’s Italian theme seeing the Chef reference everything from Philadelphia’s *better* famous Sandwich to recipes from his mother’s kitchen.
Arriving later than usual, minutes past noon finding only a few chairs unfilled and Monkey Bread already sold out, it was as a duo that Brunch was enjoyed in a windowside booth with service from a vibrant young staff that continues to impress by way of its professionalism, the kitchen given carte-blanche to send out whatever was felt best with a focus on the weekly specials.
Chatting with the Chef about any number of things as he stopped by intermittently to describe plates, his passion for family and local community always on the tip of his tongue, it was with pastries warm from the oven that the meal got started, the Pop Tart better than recalled from last time with a whole lot of Fruit wrapped in crisp Pastry while the Sticky Bun and Almond Kouign Amann both remain unparalleled on the local level.
Now offering Mimosas and Bloody Marys alongside the house-blend Coffee, a bottomless option passed in favor of a single Pomegranate infused sparkler, first plates consisted of Smoked Salmon atop Blinn’s fresh-baked Pretzel Roll with Sliced Tomato, a Schmear and crispy Capers, the Pancakes to follow as light as Angel Food Cake beneath lightly sugared Strawberries and enough Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream to make any additional topping unnecessary.
Mixing old and new, salty and sweet, a follow-up duo saw the kitchen send forth spicy Pork Sausage nestled in a pot of Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Onions atop pan-fried Fingerlings, the robust flavors well suited to the crisp air of mid-December while Cranberry White Chocolate French Toast offered three Custard-rich slices with Craisins sprinkled amidst the Crème Anglise atop it.
Remiss to have not yet tried CRAFTkitchen’s Sweet Potato Fries, the Maple Bacon Aioli served with it as silky smooth as it is complex in flavor profile, the weekend special riff on DiNic’s classic Sandwich from Reading Terminal Market is the sort of thing the restaurant should strongly consider adding full time, the melty Provolone and golden Sesame Bun alone turning heads and rousing envy from two women pretending to still be satisfied with sharing Quiche and a Salad.
Not to say Jaret’s crustless Quiche and well-composed piles of Greens are to be overlooked, but far more interested in seeing how the Chef might play homage to his Mother’s Chicken Cacciatore, those interested in one of the city’s best deals for rustic Italian cooking would be well-advised to be on the lookout next time as the Breaded Chicken Breast was perfectly stewed in Mushroom-rich Tomato Sauce atop a creamy bed of Mascarpone Polenta.
Interesting to see the restaurant doing better Dessert business with smaller portions at a lower cost, the idea of something small and sweet to finish still a foreign one, it was with an all-in approach that spoons and forks plunged into steamy Bread Pudding richly imbued with Chocolate and topped in Crème Anglaise while the full-size Buche de Noel, available also in $2.95 slices, was every bit as delicious as it was beautiful to look at.
FIVE STARS: Better and better with each visit, the teamwork and passion of everyone involved palpable in the food as well as the vibe, CRAFTkitchen manages what more “famous” brunches like those at Bouchon or Mon Ami Gabi cannot by being family-owned, small and flexible, each week offering new temptations whether one veers light, savory and even Gluten-free or far more indulgent.
RECOMMENDED: Kouign Amann, Sticky Bun, Smoked Salmon, Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich, Nonna’s Chicken Cacciatore, Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding, Buche de Noel.
TIP: Currently offering individual seasonal treats in addition to the top-tier Chewy Granola, those still in need of a locally-crafted Christmas gift for the epicure in their life may be interested in checking out CRAFTkitchen’s Seasonal Gift Basket with CRAFTkitchen Blend Coffee, Chewy Granola, White Chocolate Nut Clusters, Dark Chocolate Nut Clusters, Peppermint Bark and English Toffee in one of two elegant boxes.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.