Chicken-fried sweetbreads and local Albacore crudo tell you this is not your regular neighborhood fare.
Well, these folks have taken what used to be a quaint little neighborhood gem (Savory), and opened it up the interior into a more spacious neighborhood gem. The former was great, and the current can perhaps be called even more so. Without taking over anymore space next door, The Craftsman, New American Tavern has extended in ways not thought possible.
The proprietors, Wade and Kristi Hageman (Blue Ribbon Pizza Artisan Pizzeria, The Lumberyard, Encinitas) Have unleashed their extensive restaurant experience and given the neighborhood a fine and tasty vibe. You have to get there early for dinner, as the vibe can also be a bit noisy when all the neighbors decide to show up.
The carryover from Blue Ribbon pre-meal enticement of heirloom black seed popcorn with black truffle salt and parmigiano reggiano, is something that could serve as dinner itself, but there is so much other fun fare that one should not stop there.
Get that roasted bone marrow, and pretend to be in New York, or Chicago, where something like that is served more often. The taste is so consuming, it is easy to come to a conclusion that one has been there previous.
Start with a cocktail, because they take great pride in them, and are constantly adding to a list that always alerts to the fact they are not slinging bizarre margaritas, or driving a cosmopolitan into the ground. They have great cocktails that have their own unique spin on them that seems to work wonderfully.
There is a very good former barman (Matt) at the base of this movement, and he takes the blending very seriously. New arrivals of house made infusions quench with quality. Duck fat fries can be just right with one of these great cocktails, provided the near impossible task of not eating too much popcorn has been adhered to.
Merlot braised short ribs cannot be avoided. Some think this to be an overused staple around the area. Those that think that have not been to The Craftsman for these. Horseradish potato puree, red onion marmalade, Beef Jus make this unavoidable dish worth the change of opinion of it's commonality.
Hand cut pappardelle pasta, or duck confit can also transport you to somewhere you might have forgotten, but are quickly reminded how much you liked that place, which now is here in front of you.
Dessert might not be a thought at this point, but a reconsideration is completely in order. People do not generally think about butterscotch pudding, or if they do, it seems to be a very long memory thread tied to a school cafeteria, but when there was not salt caramel involved with that version, and that makes for a very short decision process.
Come to this neighborhood studio, and see that there is in fact, a Craftsman at work here, and the love that they have for that job, shows splendidly.
The Craftsman New American Tavern
267 El Camino Real
Encinitas, CA 92024