Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crafted! The Art of the Taco

Located at 219-A South Elm Street in Downtown Greensboro, Crafted specializes in innovative tacos. Traditional and American-style tacos are also available, as are burritos, burgers, and apps. There are vegan options as well and a full-service bar.

One needn’t stoop to the (guiltily pleasurable) depths of Taco Bell to think that tacos are and should be relatively inexpensive. Even quality authentic-style tacos tend not to run more than $2 apiece around these parts. Crafted, however, will challenge one’s notions of how much a taco should cost….by challenging one’s notions of how good a taco can be.

Right off the bat, Crafted’s menu captures the imagination. Among the signature tacos, you will find combinations such as blackened tuna with garlic aoli and kimchee (the Fedora), beef brisket, grilled pineapple, and sweet chili sauce (the Fixie), and falafel, pickled cucumbers, and greens (the Hoodie). Sides too venture toward the unexpected: duck fat braised collards, anyone? Of course, if avant-garde tacoism isn’t to your liking, you can build your own from more traditional ingredients (like beef, pork, or chicken) and pair it with salsa and chips.

During my visit, I opted for the Wayfarer, a perfect marriage of pulled pork, Korean red sauce, marinated cucumber, and red onion relish. The pork was moist and slightly smoky, the red sauce addictively sweet, the relish appropriately tangy, and the cucumber refreshing. The homemade mac and cheese deliciously creamy and worth the $1 upcharge. In short, there was nothing that wasn’t amazing.

As alluded to previously, however, “amazing” comes at a price. The signature tacos come two apiece for $8-$10 with one side. Want a burrito instead? Be prepared to pay $1 more. The more conventional taco preparations aren’t that much more wallet friendly, and you will shell out an extra 50 cents for either an American (lettuce, tomato, sour cream, shredded cheese) or traditional (radish, cilantro, onion, avocado) accoutrements. Those who like to down cheap tacos four at a time will be in for a rude awakening.

Also of note: Crafted is a taco bar, not a Mexican restaurant. They say as much on the menus, but the reality won’t hit you until you walk through the door. Like many Elm Street establishments, Crafted is long but narrow. There is a handful of tables and a long bar. Interestingly, you walk past the kitchen before arriving at the dining area. The walls are a bright green, and the ambiance is lively without being deafening. Food moves from the kitchen at a satisfactorily quick pace, and servers are efficient sans attitude.

Crafted’s pricing and artisanal approach to tacos may alienate those with strong preferences for more straightforward and economical fare, but those with open minds and open wallets will be hard-pressed to find a tastier tortilla.


Crafted The Art of The Taco on Urbanspoon

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