2013 Seven Falls Chardonnay, 2015 Kung Fu Girl Riesling
CK Cheese Plate – Truffle Pecorino, Point Reyes Blue Cheese Mousse, Parmigiano Reggiano, Triple Cream Brie, Local Honey, Housemade Strawberry Preserves, Dried Apricots, Walnuts, Grilled Ciabatta
Grilled Fresh Artichokes – Baby Artichokes, Balsamic Glaze, Melted Truffle Pecorino, Roasted Garlic Aioli
Heirloom Tomato Salad – Grapefruit and Vanilla Gastrique, Shaved Ricotta Salata, Micro Violas and Basil
Tricolor Spring Beets Salad – Chevre Goat Cheese, Champagne Vinaigrette, Crushed Pistachios
Housemade Pretzels & Beer Cheese – Local Beer Cheese, Crispy Housemade Pretzel Bread
Polenta Fries – Crispy Polenta Sticks, Spicy Pomodoro Sauce, Shaved Parmigiana-Reggiano, Microbasil
Manila Clams – Housemade Pork & Fennel Sausage, Shallot White Wine Broth, Thick Cut Garlic Rubbed Ciabatta
Tempura Popcorn Shrimp – Crispy Shrimp, Sriracha Aioli, Green Onions, Chili Threads, Shichimi
House Smoked Wings – Maple Bacon Smoked Naked Wings, Sweet and Spicy Glaze
Bone Marrow – Roasted Bone Marrow, Italian Parsley, Pickled Shallots, Grilled Ciabattini
CK Meatballs – Housemade Pork, Beef and Veal Meatballs, Pomodoro Sauce, Whipped House Ricotta
Cavatelli & Short Rib – Cabernet braised Grass-fed Short Ribs, Ricotta Salata and Oven Roasted Tomatoes tossed with Cavatelli Pasta in Parmesan Demiglace
Chambers Rosewood Muscat
Afogato – Vanilla Bean Gelato drowned in a fresh brewed shot of Espresso
Sticky Toffee Cake – Vanilla Bean Gelato
Crème Brulee – Assorted Housemade Cookies
Mason Jar Magic Bar – Toasted Coconut, Chocolate Chantilly, Butterscotch Sauce, Graham Cracker, Candied Walnuts
An avid supporter of CRAFTkitchen since day one, the passion of Chef Jaret Blinn and his wife Tami evident to anyone who has ever taken the time to walk through their doors, it was unfortunately due to travel that a friends and family event the prior weekend was missed, the decision to change Friday evening plans on April the 14th instead seeing a party of three sit down for the first official night of #CKFridayRecess.
Now staying open from 4:00pm until 9:00pm for the new menu, a concise list of ‘Bar Food’ favorites plus several bright Salads and Desserts intended to be paired with a well priced Beer and Wine list, it was just past six o’clock that two adults and a child were sat along the right wall of the restaurant at a wooden table looking out across a room far less filled than during the daytime hours, a soundtrack ranging from modern pop to late 90’s tunes playing loud enough to be heard, but not so much as to be disruptive.
Greeted by a familiar dining room staff, the Blinn’s ability to retain talent something not particularly common in Las Vegas where servers seem to jump around as much as Chefs on the Strip, it was after greetings from Chef Jaret who seemed to be in a great mood despite running on low sleep that the meal got stated, the CK Cheese Plate pairing well with two glasses of White that cost just $8, the Blue Cheese whipped into a Mousse particularly memorable with Honey while the Brie is served in a big wedge suitable for those who prefer a more mild taste.
Continuing to outperform most in terms of the produce, the ‘high’ prices cited by some locals more than justified by the thick rounds of Heirloom Tomatoes under bright Citrus as well as the ubiquitous Beet Salad that still manages to be impressive by way of the crumbly Cheese and its interplay with another housemade Vinaigrette, the Happy Hour’s next noteworthy bite came by way of Jaret’s personal love of Artichokes, the grilled miniatures beneath reduced Balsamic and the Truffled Cheese from the Board already tasty on their own and all the better when dipped in the Roasted Garlic Aioli served via sidecar.
Trending a bit heavier past the salads, though those who enjoy Clams would be well advised to make the drive down to Henderson for the meaty Manilas served in an aromatic broth made from White Wine and Shallots with a generous helping of crumbled Sausage, Jaret’s baking skills come to the fore by way of the light and crispy Pretzel Bread ready to be dipped in a pool of Beer Cheese that does not coagulate even after forty-five minutes of sitting, the Polenta Fries falling a bit flat in-and-of themselves and apparently missing a key ingredient per the Chef, though the spicy Tomato Sauce was quite good.
Not really the sort of place one would expect Bone Marrow, the two small Bones for $13 not quite the show-stopper of, say, Jean Georges Steakhouse despite a lightly sweetened Parsley Salad that reminds one of the famed version served at London’s St. John, CRAFTkitchen takes a trick from Mandalay Bay’s Stripsteak when presenting Chicken Wings from beneath a glass dome with a puff of Smoke, the Maple Bacon as well as the Glaze contributing to a robust backyard Barbeque taste.
Always happy to see someone making a good Meatball, Blinn’s version as moist and meaty as any on the Strip with a reported 3-cups of Bread per 15-pounds of Pork, Veal and Beef, the puddles of Ricotta here as well as the Salata served atop Pasta and pulled Short Ribs go a long way toward making each dish noteworthy, the better-than-Chinatown Tempura Shrimp rounding out the savories with a delicate golden coating lightly sauced with Sriracha and additional heat added from Chili Threads tossed amidst Green Onions and Sesame Seeds.
Only offering three desserts plus Afogato at Dinner, a far more substantial list of sweets featured during daytime hours, it is with good fortune that the kitchen makes each one well worth the cost as well as the calories, the Crème Brulee pretty much a par for the course classic alongside some good Italian-style Cookies while the “Mason Jar Magic Bar” presents a classic home-bake deconstructed into a tasty Parfait that is both sweet and sometimes salty, the Sticky Toffee Cake quite similar to that offered at T-Bones inside of Red Rock, where Jaret used to work, and all the better for it with a big ol’ scoop of Gelato and flavors that go well with a hefty pour of the Chambers Rosewood Muscat.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS: Continuing to upgrade the Off-Strip breakfast and lunch dining scene in its second year, and now adding on a Friday Happy Hour full of good food, fair prices and an ever pleasant staff, CRAFTkitchen remains a great story of a Chef following his heart to do what he loves both for self and for family, the sort of place that locals deserve and visitors with the means would be well advised to visit so that can see that Las Vegas dining is more than overpriced Celebrity Chef spots and Buffets.
RECOMMENDED: Clams, Meatballs, Beer Cheese, Artichokes, Wings, Popcorn Shrimp, Cheese Plate, Sticky Toffee Pudding, Mason Jar Magic Bar.
AVOID: Polenta Fries need some more oomph.
TIP: Happy Hour is offered 4pm-9pm on Fridays. Details at https://www.craftkitchenlv.com/blog/happy-hour
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.