Thursday, April 14, 2016


I know it looks like a hole in the wall place, but it's not.  It's more like a slot in the wall.  You enter the front door, walk down a long narrow hallway with a glassed-in kitchen on your left, three or four people are busy working the grill.

To your right is a blank white hall.  The hallway is no more than 5 feet wide.  There's not much room for two people to pass one another.  I'm sure this would have never passed the eagle-eyed Rockingham County health inspector.  Too many people, narrow hallway, that spells D-I-A-S-T-E-R...we love business, that's our motto.

The disastrous hallway opens into a small dining area about twice as wide as the hallway.  It is very simply decorated.  

On one wall "T-A-C-O-S" is spelled out in large 3-D letters.  There are a few tables and some stools.  That's pretty much it.  Very simple.

If you go to the web site, it's a bit more complicated.  The site is nicely styled,  A lot of work went into creating the site.  But, it's confusing and difficult to just read the menu.  Whoever created the web site may have been a bit high.  A simple web site would better match the feel of the restaurant.

What we're talking about is CRAFTED - ART OF THE TACO.  It is located at 219 S. Elm St. in Greensboro.

As the web site declares on the menu page "We are not a Mexican restaurant.  We are a taco joint."  I will say it is definitely not a Mexican restaurant, despite a large selection of tacos, and you will notice the sign on the left on the front of the building clearly says "TACO JOINT".

Before we talk much about the tacos, let's be clear, CRAFTED also serves what it calls Global or Street food.  This includes fare such as Bao, Scallion Cakes, Pork Ribs, Spring Rolls, Samosa Chaat, Poutine, Okra, Corn Dog, Korean Meatballs, Thai Curry, Cubano, Pho, Banh Mi, Salmon Thikka, and Hot Wings.  Sides include Kimchee, Saffron Rice, and Chick Pea Salad.  Some of those are self-explanatory to a degree, the others not so much.   We say "to a degree" because you may know what Poutine is, you may eat it several times a week, but I'm betting the CRAFTED poutine is a completely new experience. 

You can try to explore the online menu if you want to know more.  We'll focus mainly on the tacos we ordered.  The tacos we know because we ate them and they were unique and delicious.

My dinner date went the simple route .  She ordered the MEMBERS ONLY with sweet potato chips.  MEMBERS ONLY is duck confit, and cabbage with hoisin BBQ sauce.  Confit means to be cooked in its own fat.  We mention this because you probably don't see confit on many Reidsville menus. You probably recognize the meaning of BBQ because most everything in Reidsville is either coated in BBQ sauce or is BBQ and then coated in BBQ sauce.  If it's not BBQ, then it must be a sausage biscuit with grits.

The sweet potato chips were served with some sort of chipotle sauce that seemed to have little flavor until several seconds after it had been swallowed with a chip...then BAM! the kick kicks in...hard.

I was never offered a taste of the MEMBERS ONLY and I didn't ask.  I can only assume it was most excellent because I know my date loves duck.

I should mention you don't eat CRAFTED tacos with a fork.  You eat them with your hands like you eat tacos everywhere in the world.  I had my date pose her tacos with a fork for this photo.

You know it's strange...I don't ever remember eating a duck taco at TACO BELL.

Here's my plate.  It's a big honker.  Three different tacos and a bowl of chips and salsa.  Oh, yeah...and a Duck Rabbit milk stout beer.

Let's start with the easy stuff.  

Duck Rabbit milk stout is a most excellent North Carolina beer.  It's dark and rich.  You can find it at quite a few places now.  It might even be in some grocery stores.  As far as I know, it has nothing to do with milk, other than possibly the addition of lactose during the brewing process.  It's just good and smooth.  It's good enough that my date, who is not a beer drinker, took several slugs from my bottle between chews on her MEMBERS ONLY.  That's a fine fix...she drinks my rabbit, but I don't get to taste her duck.

On the left are tortilla chips and salsa.  Without a doubt, the chips were the best I've ever tasted.  They were thick and floury and nicely fried and served warm.  I don't much care for corn chips.  Corn tortillas are nice, but flour are awesome.  And the salsa was saucy, moderately thick, and tasty.  It was nothing like the stuff they serve at El Parral and Monterrey which is thin and watery. And let me add one more thing...CRAFTED chips are served in relative quiet.  Monterrey chips are always served with yelling, laughing, and screaming teenagers and/or babies...sometimes both.

Now it gets complicated.  I got the BOX TRUCK plate.  I have no idea why it's called the BOX TRUCK.  It includes the three tacos pictured above.  I can't remember for sure which taco is which, but since the photo is poorly angled and you can't see them well, I don't guess it matters much.

I believe the taco at the front is the BIG TRUCK.  Again, I don't why it's called a BIG TRUCK.  It's pulled pork with BBQ sauce (yeap, even CRAFTED has BBQ) with macaroni and cheese, scallions, bacon, and something called tobacco onions.  Man, this was a delicious combination.  I was afraid the mac n' cheese would predominate, but it didn't.  I later saw a pan of the mac 'n cheese cooking on the stove.  It was white and creamy and being cooked in a pan, not in a pot with water and pouch of yellow cheese.  The BIG TRUCK had mostly the flavor of the pork.  The fried onions (tobacco?) on top were a nice touch.

Behind the BIG TRUCK is the OXFORD.  That's fried chicken with squash slaw, and mustard.  I could have sworn the slaw was kimchi (Korean sauerkraut), but I guess not.  It must have been a combination of the slaw and mustard.  This one was a bit spicy, but nicely so.  What the hell do I know?

In the back, almost out of sight, is the BOWTIE.  Again with these names.  The BOWTIE is a fish taco with corn kernels, poblano salsa, chipotle aioli (mayonnaise), and honey mustard.  The fish was tender, not overcooked, but soft in the fins or scales.  That was a joke, of course, there were no fins or scales.  It was a fine taco.

There's a whole slew of tacos on the menu.  I almost ordered the PO' BOY with fried Cajun shrimp and remoulaude sauce. I spent my college days in Cajun country and I'm always attracted to a menu item with the words Cajun and remoulade.  

You can read for yourself online or better yet brave a little traffic and go to downtown Greensboro.  I suggest you go early (like 5 PM) to get a seat.  CRAFTED doesn't take reservations and there was a line standing in the hallway to wait for a table by 6 PM.  CRAFTED offers catering if you're in a taco mood for your next event.

That's one of our dinner guests hiding from the camera by pretending to sniff our dessert.  I sniffed it too.  I couldn't smell anything.  The dessert is CHURROS.  CHURROS are a thin, fried pastry.  These were served with what I guess is a powdered sugar and a dark chocolate sauce.  The CHURROS were cut into small, bite sized chunks, perfect to be speared with a fork.  Surprisingly, they were not exceedingly sweet.  They sound very sweet, but not so.  They were just tasty, but tough to eat after cleaning my BOX TRUCK plate.

I've saved this for the end of our review.  It's what our less adventurous guests ordered.  It's a burger with cheese, often referred to as a cheeseburger with bacon, and carmelized onions.  On the side are french fries.  CRAFTED has a burger menu with maybe six selections.  This ONE AND ONLY burger was the least exciting selection on a menu of maybe two dozen or more choices.  One guest has been my friend for sixty years.  What can I say?

The bill was about $75 for four guests plus a very generous $20 tip.

Below is a nice video from CRAFTED  It doesn't appear to be filmed at Elm St in Greensboro, but it will give you a feel for the place.

After dinner we walked up the street to the Cone Denim Theater to hear Gregg Allman perform.  We'll cover that story at the REIDSVILLE.REVIEW in a few days.

All our food reviews can be found at REIDSVILLE.COM 
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