Saturday, October 9, 2010

Take 2

The owners of Neighborhood, Noble Experiment & El Dorado recently opened up a new gastropub and cocktail lounge called Craft & Commerce in Little Italy. I recently had dinner there but this was my second attempt as my first attempt didn't go over so well. On my first attempt my friend and I got there around 7pm on a Friday night. They don't take reservations so we figured we would wait at the bar, have a drink and then dine. When we arrived we had a hard time finding the hostess and the hostess stand. So we went straight to the busy bartenders who were slammed at the overly crowded bar where people were eating and others were yelling over their head to order drinks. My friend was one of those yelling over the patrons dining at the bar and asked if we could check in and get a table for dinner. We were told to write our name on the chalk board and it would be at least an hour wait. It was complete chaos and instantly were turned off. We decided that we didn't want to self write our name on a chalk board listed with 20 people ahead of us and decided to get out of there and go someplace else. It seemed so unorganized.
I really wanted to try the food and give this place some time to work out the kinks so I went back a second time. This time I went on a Wednesday night at 5:30. I knew it would be easy enough to get a table at that hour. This time I was seated right when I showed up.
The menu is nothing to out of the ordinary but has many gastropub options which always sound good to me. Some of the items included:
Apple Wood Bacon Cracker Jacks, Fries & Pickles, Cheese Board & Cured Meat Board, Candied Apple Salad, Brisket Sandwich, Heritage Burger, Hot Dog Trio, Mussels w/ Fries, and Fried Chicken.My friend and I had the Mussels w/ Fries to start. The muscles were really good. Not to many small ones in the bunch. The fries where shoestring fries which I love. The sauce that the muscles and fries were in were a little on the buttery side but tasty.We also ordered the Citrus Avocado Goat Cheese Salad. It was okay. The goat cheese was fried but served cold which was odd, and the citrus over powered the salad. There was maybe two pieces of avocado and when I order a salad with avocado I want more then 2 pieces. I didn't love it.
The Fried Chicken was the best. Served with Buttermilk Slaw, Garlic Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes, and Red Chile Vinegar. The chicken was crispy on the outside and moist in the inside. The potatoes were heaven on a plate. I asked the waitress what they were made with and she said magic. Good answer for the moment but I really think she had absolutely no idea what they were made with. Educating your waiters might be a good idea.The decor was a bit confusing. I got a southern/western American vibe from the way the bartenders and waiters were dressed, the blues music playing in the back ground and the rough wood tables. Not sure I know what the stacked old books were about. Vintage library perhaps? They had a book on tape playing in the bath room which was different.I think its a bit over the top and the restaurant has somewhat of an attitude. Its the "I'm the cool kid" attitude. Not sure I was feeling it and felt like I needed to be wearing a fedora and suspenders like the bartenders in order to fit in.
As it got later into the night I noticed the bar starting to fill up. People walking in confused looking for the hostess, the patio filling up with hungry impatient men in business suits just wanting to sit down and order a burger. The chalk board was filling up as well and we were paying our bill getting ready to leave. The next people who sit down at our table will be so glad to have a table and not a seat at the bar with people ordering drinks over their heads. I don't think I will go back to this place to eat but would go back and try some of the amazing looking cocktails they had on the menu. Who knows, maybe I will be ordering it over your head while you are eating some down home amazing fried the bar?
Craft& Commerce 675 w. beach st. san diego ca. 92101

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