Craft + Community Bar and Grill
South for the Summer – Anejo Tequila, Blackberry, Dragonfruit Syrup, Grapefruit, Black Raven Grapefruit Soda
Prickly Pear Margarita – Patron Silver Tequila, Three Citrus Sour, Prickly Pear Curacao, Yuzu
Community Board – Prosciutto di San Daniel, Bresaola, Salami Toscana, Crescenza, Dolce Gorgonzla, Prarie Breeze Cheddar, Manchego, Beemster Goat Cheese, Golden Beets, Raisin Chutney, Marcona Almonds, Toasted Bread, Deviled Eggs
French Dip – Shaved Prime Rib, Swiss Cheese, Au Jus, Housemade Roll, Hand Cut Fries, Ketchup
Lamb Gyro – Tomato, Red Onion, Feta Cheese, Tzatziki, Fresh Pita, Hand Cut Fries, Ketchup
Chipotle Chicken Chowder – Potatoes, Shredded Chicken, Chipotle Cream
The Meatloaf – Brussels Sprouts, Smashed Fingerling Potatoes
Southern Fried Chicken – Green Hatch Chili Mac & Cheese, Coleslaw
Toasted S’mores Cake – Chocolate and Graham Cracker Cake, Chocolate Icing, Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream
Strawberry Lemonade Pudding Cake – Macerated Strawberries, Vanilla Bean Crème Fraiche, Toasted Almonds, Almond Cookies
Craft Box – Bourbon Caramel Bacon Bark, Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Pecan Cupcakes, Peanut Brittle, Caramel Pretzel Popcorn
Although the future of every eatery inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino hangs in the balance it was earlier than anticipated that Sam Fox’s Culinary Dropout “dropped out,” an overnight shutter seeing Morton’s Restaurant Group step-up and take over with some inside help from the Executive Chefs of soon-to-be Virgin Hotel.
Dubbed Craft + Community Bar and Grill, a name likely to last until 2020 sees the property’s temporary shutter, guests entering the space immediately off the gaming floor will quickly see little has changed from prior occupants, everything from artwork to management maintained though the menu has already seen some adjustments.
Open at 11:30am on weekdays and an hour earlier on Saturday or Sunday, Brunch then running until 3pm, Craft + Community looks to bring Las Vegas all the elements of a backyard party and between its seamless indoor-outdoor environment and frequent live entertainment the vibe is no doubt lively while service is attentive, well-informed and friendly.
Focused on American fare with a middle-of-the road price-point, Appetizers, Salads and Sandwiches ranging $8-18 with Entrees approximately $10 more, it was with Iced Tea and a pair of Fruit-forward Cocktails in hand that things were underway no more than fifteen minutes after seating, a “Community Board” for $35 soon to arrive with enough Charcuterie, Cheese, housemade Bread and Condiments for four.
Impressed by ingredient quality, though slicing skills leave something to be desired with Bresaola in particular a bit too thin and frayed at the edges, it was after finishing off the last of creamy Beemster and Beets that two Sandwiches arrived, the Lamb Gyro comparable to anything one will find at a local Greek spot while Prime Rib and melted Swiss comprising the French Dip are plenty moist even before being plunged into Au Jus.
Not a spot for shortcuts, the fluffy Roll and Pita both made in Hard Rock’s Bake Shop while Fries are cut by hand, it was with share plates reset that Soup and Entrees arrived, Chipotle Chicken Chowder unfortunately proving a bit too spicy for timid tastes while Meatloaf generously topped with housemade Ketchup and golden Fried Chicken are both amongst Sin City’s best, the latter in particular thanks to a generous spice profile that penetrates deep below the Breading whether light Meat or dark.
Smartly sticking with Mickey Harden for Dessert, the man in charge of almost everything sweet at 4455 Paradise Road again showing up in a big way without commanding any credit, it is from his “Craft Box” that guests will be happy to share Brittle, Caramel Popcorn and Bourbon Caramel Bacon Bark while the decadent S’mores Cake and tangy Strawberry Lemonade Pudding are also well-portioned but so enjoyable that more than one might be necessary to avoid fighting over the last bite.
FOUR STARS: Replacing Culinary Dropout, and currently undergoing incremental menu change, Craft + Community focuses on American Fare in a hip setting that flows nicely from interior to patio. Still a work in progress, but featuring classic recipes done well plus Pastry from Mickey Harden, all signs indicate this to be a temporary project but thus far almost everything tastes great with prices that are proportionate to portions, quality and setting.
RECOMMENDED: Prickly Pear Margarita, Prosciutto di San Daniel, Prarie Breeze Cheddar, Beemster Goat Cheese, French Dip, Southern Fried Chicken, Craft Box, Strawberry Lemonade Pudding Cake.
AVOID: Bresaola was poorly sliced and Chipotle Chicken Chowder needs more smoke with less fire.
TIP: Live Music is offered on Fridays and Saturdays, possibly Thursdays, though a complete schedule is not yet posted.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.