Kitchen Confidential: Fantastic Food and Stellar Service set CraftWay Kitchen Apart on the Crowded Dining SceneJul 01, 2022 ● By Lisa Sciortino
In my experience, it is rare when the level of service and attention to detail demonstrated by a restaurant’s wait and kitchen staffs is equally as impressive as the innovative and downright delicious items found on its menu.
However, it was for this reason that a recent dinner at CraftWay Kitchen — situated in a shopping center on Lebanon Road in Frisco — rated as one of the best meals and evenings out that I’ve enjoyed in a long while.
The buzz on local social media pages surrounding CraftWay Kitchen since its opening earlier this year (there’s also a location in Plano) has been overwhelmingly positive – and rightly so. A friend and I were pleasantly greeted at the host stand on a Saturday night and shown to a table near the center of the dining room, which was mostly filled with diners engaged in energetic conversations at that hour.
A small arrangement of fresh flowers and an electronic candle decorated the rustic-style wooden table.
It wasn’t long before we met Nicholas, our affable server, who appeared with glasses of water. We queried him about the place’s cocktail menu, which boasts several frozen beverages including a Frozen Mule, Frozen Old Fashioned and Frozen Paloma. In the mood for something cold and sweet, I went with the Froze, a blend of rose´ wine, 42 Below vodka and strawberry simple syrup, which Nicholas assured was “stronger than you’d think.” My friend opted for the Pineapple Martini made with Tito’s house-infused pineapple vodka and a Bordeaux cherry.
The Froze, served in a tall fluted glass and garnished with a refreshing mint sprig, was everything I hoped it would be, and even a bit reminiscent of a convenience store Slurpee® (in a very good way). Meanwhile, my friend’s martini boasted the tropical flavor she’d anticipated as well as a stunning ombre hue that went from yellow to dark orange to a deep red where the cherry rested at the bottom of the glass. Both beverages were especially yummy.
Starters (aka appetizers) at CraftWay Kitchen include such staples as an uber-trendy charcuterie, flash-fried calamari and a southwestern-inspired shrimp cocktail, among others. We were intrigued by the Blue Cheese Chips, mostly because it seemed like something neither of us would ever think to order: a heaping pile of crispy kettle-style potato chips topped with blue cheese crumbles and blue cheese dressing, sprinkled with chives and bits of smoked bacon. Nicholas declared the dish addictive and admitted that he’s been known to devour an entire plate of the chips himself.
What quickly arrived at our table was as wonderfully decadent as it sounded. Tucked throughout the mound of chips were generously sized, tangy cheese crumbles that were smothered beneath a thick layer of the dressing topped with bits of chewy bacon. While certainly over the top, the combination was also ridiculously delicious. Score one for Nicholas, who also presented us with a single, complimentary piece of CraftWay’s thick-cut Candied Bacon to sample. Made with maple syrup, this slice of heaven was sticky and sweet and a bit spicy thanks to the addition of some ancho chili and red pepper flakes. Another winner.
Between bites of potato chips and sips of our fun cocktails, we perused the entrée options including those listed as weekly specials. CraftWay Kitchen locally sources its filet and New York Strip steaks from Hamm’s Meat Market in nearby McKinney, and also offers several seafood dishes including Ahi Tuna, Grilled Verlasso Salmon and Lake Superior Whitefish.
Interesting sandwiches options, served with steak fries, include a Grilled Salmon BLT, a Pastrami Rueben and the Chicken and Fig Sandwich. When I inquired about the latter, Nicholas explained that it could be prepared grilled, lightly fried or blackened. Although he recommended trying it fried, I opted for the grilled version and he assured that I would not be disappointed. My friend zeroed in on the special Half-Pound Crab Cake featuring jumbo lump crab with lemon butter, with a wedge salad on the side.
The somewhat rustic-style décor of CraftWay Kitchen belies the inspired, sophisticated food and service found here. The tall, exposed ceiling, and dark wooden tables, chairs and other accents lend the dining room a comfortable, casual feel. Several large televisions broadcasting sports hang on the walls amid chalkboard-style signage, cool artistic photos of food and beverages and a large American flag. The bar, backed by a wall of bright white hexagon tiles, boasts a bit of a contemporary vibe. It is adjacent to a set of doors leading to a patio, above which are painted the words “Home Away From Home.”
It is no exaggeration to say that the Chicken and Fig Sandwich was hand’s down one of the most thoughtful and tastiest plates of food I have ever had the pleasure of consuming. Served on two slices of buttery, crispy Texas toast spread with avocado mayo, the fig jam lent a welcome slight sweetness to the perfectly grilled, warm chicken breast that ever-so-slightly wilted the peppery arugula shreds and melted the generous schmear of tangy goat cheese, resulting in a divine, silky mouthfeel. This was no simple sandwich, evidenced by the fact that I have not been able to stop thinking about it since.
My friend’s wedge salad was as expected — but also not at all. Instead of a traditional thick triangle of iceberg lettuce served sitting upright on a plate, a sort of deconstructed version of this salad arrived chopped in a bowl (according to Nicholas, this makes it a bit easier to eat, sans the otherwise necessary knife) with all of the standard fixings including cherry tomatoes, red onion slivers and blue cheese and bacon crumbles.
The sizeable crab cake, meanwhile, was a delight. Resting in a pool of scrumptious chive-speckled butter sauce, it was lightly breaded and fried and was deliciously fresh, topped with a small pile of crispy spring greens — a terrific version of a classic dish.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the top-notch service that Nicholas provided throughout our meal as well as to other diners. From start to finish, he happily and enthusiastically chatted us up, offering honest opinions and suggestions about various menu items. After clearing our appetizer plates, he returned unsolicited to the table with a frosted martini glass and proceeded to pour what remained of my friend’s drink into it to ensure that the martini remained properly chilled. Later, after delivering entrees to diners at the next table, he briefly sat down and bowed his head in prayer with them. In a time when eateries are notoriously short-staffed, servers like Nicholas who exude professionalism and attention to detail are the exception. It is not an overstatement to say that he was largely responsible for making our evening at CraftWay Kitchen a memorable one (more on this below).
There was no way we were going to pass on ordering dessert. I’d read amazing things online about the place’s Bread Pudding, made with chopped croissants and a cinnamon custard. But the homemade Blueberry Cobbler (which you don’t often find on menus) also sounded tempting. So, once again, we quizzed Nicholas about his favorite selections before ultimately settling on the cobbler. A few moments later, he delivered the cobbler as well as the bread pudding to our table, explaining that the latter was on him since he really wanted us to try both treats. We thanked him profusely for his generosity and thoughtfulness before diving into the luscious, warm desserts.
Served in a simple white bowl, the cobbler burst with juicy berries that were hidden beneath a slightly sweet, not-too-bready crust and topped with a generous scoop of vanilla bean-flecked ice cream. This take on a traditional favorite was stellar.
The bread pudding, on the other hand, is quite simply unforgettable. The sizeable square is piled high with the aforementioned ice cream as well as a big, fluffy mound of light, homemade whipped cream. It’s accompanied a knob of bourbon that, when poured over top of all that dairy, elevates this traditional dessert to a level that I’ve not previously experienced. It was a fabulous, fitting end to an outstanding meal that won’t soon be forgotten.
In a city like Frisco that is fortunate to have a plethora of terrific eateries from which to choose, CraftWay Kitchen is surely a standout.
Frisco STYLE Magazine dining reviews are not scheduled with or paid for by the featured restaurant. All reviews are completed for the purpose of helping readers learn about and enjoy local dining options. Is there an area restaurant that you’d like us to review? Email us at [email protected]
Lisa Sciortino is managing editor of Frisco STYLE Magazine.