Fast-casual newcomer CrushCraft Thai burst onto the Uptown scene earlier this month to liven up the Quadrangle with bold street food flavors and a vibrant interior. Owner Jack Nuchkasem and chef Paul Singhapong are both Thailand natives, and it shows in the menu of dishes that rely on fresh ingredients and a traditional mortar-and-pestle technique that gives the restaurant its name. Early reviews from customers and bloggers have been overwhelmingly positive thus far:
The Atmosphere News
Local Sugar describes Crushcraft thusly: "The interior itself is an artistic nod to a street Thai market ... the room opens up to an uniquely large skylight that is seen through a cascade of fluttering, vividly colored ribbons." UrbanDaddy continues: "Wooden beams, steel tables and a walk-up bar composed of old Thai license plates ... an industrial counter-service spot serving the kinds of authentic dishes you'd find in Bangkok alleyways and Chiang Mai markets."
The Authenticity News
"Patrons need to have an open mind when dining at Crushcraft; this isn't your average American-ized Thai food," writes City of Ate. Says a Yelper: "I've been to Thailand 6-7 times and this is the closest thing in Texas that comes to the real street food experience of no-frills grubbing while knocking back a Singha." Of course, not everyone is delighted by a departure from the typical Americanized Thai takeout: One angry Yelper says "Seriously a restaurant in Dallas that you can't call in an order and can't substitute chicken for beef on the #1 entree. This place SUCKS!"
The Filling a Niche News
A Facebook fan is glad to have CrushCraft in the 'hood: "Ate two days in a row ... Def recommend. Glad to see an affordable yummy lunch place near the office." Someone on Foursquare concurs: "The Chipotle of delicious Thai food! Super tasty."
The Food News
Local Sugar raves about a few dishes, including the papaya salad: "Long, thin ribbons of green papaya are soaked in lime juice, tamarind and chilies and provide an acidic complement to any meal. The salad was so refreshing, we would consider coming back just to snack on it." As well as the kra pao: "We tried the Kra-Pao under the Humble Homies section, and after devouring it, we concluded that the chef has nothing to be humble about. A fried egg topped a mixture of ground pork, veggies and mortar smashed chilies that was served alongside jasmine rice. The pork was seasoned well and the egg created a nice sauce to bring the whole dish together." Meanwhile, Zagat has high praise for several dishes including the moo ping: "Juicy grilled pork brings a slight smokiness to a sweet papaya salad and sticky rice. Pour the accompanying sweet chili sauce over the meat and rice for a complete melding of flavors."
The Portions News
A few folks comment on the small portion sizes. One Yelper says, "We thought the portions were kind of small. We came for dinner and were both starving so we both ended up both being little hungry still after we finished eating ... but I think it would be the perfect amount of food for a lunchtime Thai food craving without leaving you in a food coma." Another says: "I can see why some people are unhappy about the portion size if they are used to an oversized Chipotle burrito, but I think these portions are a bit closer to what should be considered normal."
The Patio News
"Their patio/deck also looks super inviting and half inspired me to go home and spruce mine up," says a Yelper. Another reviewer agrees: "The design is very welcoming with many nooks and crannies ... to lounge in the garage / outdoor patio on sunny days."
The Spicy (or Not) News
One Yelper is less than thrilled about the lack of spice customization options: "The dishes can not be customized at all which is insane to me. They won't even change the spice level of the dish, they just point you to the dried chili pepper and chili paste at the condiment bar." Another Yelp reviewer sees it differently, though, saying, "They also don't make you specify how spicy you want it because you get to do that yourself which I liked."