Craft 260 has been on our to-eat list since it opened on February 13 of this year, but sometimes we’re bad bloggers and get too lazy to haul our asses up to Fairfield. It’s not that we don’t love Fairfield…we do. In fact, it use to be our old stomping grounds. It’s just that we get sidetracked by all the nomworthy places in between here and there…like food blogger A.D.D. But, our good friends Kevin and Aly recently moved up that way, so we knew it was about time…
We weren’t sure where exactly Craft 260 was, but quickly figured out it was in that little shopping center/strip mall with Michael Gennaro’s Steakhouse, Giove’s Pizza Kitchen (No Name Pizza all day!), and a vodka bar that’s coming soon. An odd location for sure, but we weren’t going to let that deter us.
The entrance takes you right into a very small, but busy bar filled with people. We weren’t able to get reservations, so we took our chances only to find out it would be a 40 minute wait. We don’t normally mind a wait for a new hotspot so long as we can chill at the bar, but as we said, the bar was small and there was really no room to even stand around without being in everyone’s way. When the host sensed our frustration, he informed us he told us 40 minutes as a worse case scenario, but really it should be faster. And faster it was, as we landed a seat in just 15 minutes.
While we were waiting, Tomer Raviv, co-owner along side Kosta Proskinitopoulos and Chef Vincent Mascaro (formerly of Tomato & Basil Cafe), invited Kristien to try his very own drink, Ring of Fire. He must have read Kristien’s mind, because it was made of everything she loves in a drink: Jalapeño infused tequila, pineapple juice, cilantro, agave, lime, and a cayenne spiced rim. It’s not on the menu, but it’s totally worth asking for because it was delish!
It wasn’t long before we were all diving into the menu. Craft 260 refers to their food as American comfort food, and you can see why with popular items such as candied bacon, nachos, Brussels sprouts (their biggest seller, no surprise), burgers, pizzas, mac & cheese, shrimp and grits (which are Tomer’s favorite), S’Mores, Ice Cream Sandwiches, and so on. In fact the menu was pretty large with over 6 choices in each category: Taste & Share (appetizers), Greens (salads), Hand Held (sandwiches), Sides, and Meals (entrees & specials) and Dessert. Not to mention their fairly comprehensive (and well-priced) beer, bourbon, scotch, wine, and cocktail list. OK, let’s get into it…
We all had a lot of drinks. So many that we sort of lost track… which means it was a real good night, right? Here are a few we actually remember…
Eliot Ness: Jefferson’s Small Batch Bourbon, ginger syrup, and Brother’s bitters: This was a very nicely balanced bourbon drink, with the bourbon flavor coming through without being overpowering. The ginger syrup packed a nice punch as well. A really nice drink.
GreenEyes: Beefeater Gin, lime, basil and splash of soda. A refreshing, but simple, twist on the good ‘ole gin & tonic. The basil added a nice herbaceous flavor and the soda (instead of tonic) made it light instead of sweet. This drink is so easy going down, it could be dangerous.
And, because we treat all adult beverages equally, we also had a Gandhi-bot, a Southern Tier Nitro Milk Stout, Shiner Bock, and, well, lots of other brews.
Buckle up, because we chowed down…
Craft Nachos: crispy tortillas, slow smoked pulled chicken thighs, marinated tomatoes, roasted garlic, black beans, IPA Vermont white cheddar sauce, chimichurri, and green onions. As you can tell, these aren’t your normal nachos. Not only were they HUGE, piled high with ample amounts of all the toppings, but they were smokey and full of well-balanced flavor. We could’ve done with less chips, but overall we were happy with this unique twist to an American favorite.
Fresh Handmade Burrata: smoked tomato relish, herb infused EVOO, kalamata olives, and garlic bread. The burrata was rich and creamy (AKA heavenly) as good buratta should be. We felt, though, that the olives were a bit too overwhelming with the delicate flavors of the burrata, so it’s good that it came on the side.
Crispy Pork Belly Lettuce Wraps: slow cooked crispy pork belly, shishito peppers, shaved red onions, fresh ginger, pickled red cabbage & hoisin. The pork belly is nice and crispy, complemented by the Asian flavors like ginger, pickled cabbage and hoisin to give it a kick. It also seemed to have a warm, hint of clove to round it out. Very nicely done.
Brussel Sprouts: beer-soaked sprouts, local apples, apple wood smoked bacon, goat cheese, toasted pecans, a warm bacon/dijon vinaigrette, and a bourbon ketchup on the side. This was a very good dish. The sprouts were crispy as they should be, and the sweet apple and tart and creamy goat cheese balanced out the bitterness of the sprouts perfectly. The bourbon ketchup on the side scared us at first, but actually added a good tomato flavor and butteriness when we dipped a sprout in.
Craft 260 Burger: 8 oz. fresh ground short rib blend, fire grilled, 8 hour caramelized onions, smoked tomatoes, crispy pork belly, IPA Vermont cheddar sauce, roasted garlic aioli on a toasted brioche bun (from our friends at Wave Hill). The burger was juicy and nicely packed. It was a pretty thick patty which is maybe why it was cooked a bit uneven with some parts rare and some parts medium rare. The patty itself might have needed a bit of salt and pepper, but the rest of the burger overall was packed with flavor from the IPA VT Cheddar (not overpowering, mild) and the smoky and savory pork belly. Oh, and the hand-cut fries on the side were nice and crispy, thick, and served with just the right amount of salt and pepper. Excellent.
Baked Mac & Cheese: Orecchietti pasta, gouda, sharp cheddar, mascarpone, buttered crumbs, and candied bacon (which you can leave off if you want to go meatless). The mac & cheese was super creamy with a fantastic mix of well-balanced cheeses. The crispy breadcrumbs and chunks of candied bacon on top rounded out the dish. A nice, reliable, classic mac & cheese!
Branzino: This fish is difficult to pass up when we see it on the menu, so when we saw it as a special, Kristien jumped all over it. Not literally, that’d be weird. The branzino was served whole, skin and all. When you took a fork into the fish, bits of the fish spiraled up onto the fork. The branzino was moist, full of flavor, and cooked just right…something that lots of restaurants can’t seem to get right. On the side was a refreshing and light salad that featured butter beans, arugula, and tomatoes. This provided a nice contrast and made the fish seem even lighter.
Smoked Chicken Sandwich: slow smoked pulled chicken, sliced apples, gouda, baby spinach, cranberry jam & honey stone ground mustard aioli, all on a panini-pressed ciabatta. Our friend Kevin ordered this bad boy. The chicken was cooked slowly on their smoker in the back, making it nice and juicy. The bread was big and hearty enough to hold all that delicious flavor from the jam and aioli to balance it all out. The cheesy gratin on the side was excellent too and didn’t last long in Kevin’s capable hands.
Craft Fries: Handcut, tossed with lemon & herb infused garlic, truffle oil, shaved pecorino: Need we say anything more about these fries? They were nice and crispy and full of flavor from all the delicious toppings. What more could you want really? Well, we suppose two orders of Craft Fries…that would do it.
After such a huge and delicious feast, and a whole lotta adult beverages, we were pleasantly surprised by the bill. We’ve paid at least 20% more for a meal of this quality elsewhere. If you can get past the weekend wait times, and the small area to actually wait in, then you absolutely need to hit up Craft 260 soon. With a creative menu that was well executed, nicely crafted cocktails, a good selection of hand-selected and truly craft beers, liquors and wine, and friendly service, all at a fair price for a nice night out, you really can’t go wrong.
Address: 260 Post Road
Phone: (203) 955-1745
Hours: Tues-Fri: 11:30 to Close
Sat: 12:30 to Close
Sun: 1:00 to Close