In a group setting, reminiscent of a restaurant's family meal, staff at Craftwood Inn previewed its upcoming spring/summer menu yesterday. Managers quizzed servers on new terminology, servers practiced their spiel for the new items debuting today, and I just sat there and took pictures and then tasted the things I took pictures of.
The full menu is available below, but here are some standouts:
• Anything with rattlesnake. The lightly crunchy Red Rock Rattlesnake Poppers ($10) are incredibly rich and salty — brought off even more so by the smear of chipotle crème fraiche — but tempered by the sweet and crunchy corn relish. Also, the Smoked Diamond Back Buffalo Filet ($38) — stuffed with smoked rattlesnake, roasted green chilies and Boursin cheese — is a ridiculously good mash-up of smoky heat and sweet chili bites.
• The Salmon Creek Farms Apple & Peach Braised Pork Belly ($11). After the pork belly — essentially uncured, unsmoked bacon — was braised for six hours, it was more mind-blowing pork butter than meat product, and the added apple compote indeed came off, as advertised by executive chef Ben Hoffer, "like the best applesauce you have ever tasted." Just epic.
• The Grilled Wild Boar & Watermelon Kabobs ($14). The boar was more steak than pork chop, and just as soft as a pillow. The grilled watermelon is a nicely mild addition, while the gingered carica coulis acts tart enough to cut through and balance the dish. (The sweet potato "nests" are just salty and fun.)
See below for more pictures — vegetarians beware — and the full menu.