Craft & Commerce is located in Downtown, San Diego near Little Italy and Waterfront Park. They focus on contemporary comfort food and wood-fired dishes. This is definitely one of the hotspots for night life in San Diego with their extensive bar and cocktail list (which includes one of my favorite cocktails of all time: Lay Lady Lay) and a great dining experience.
First and foremost, their bone marrow is one of the dishes they are the most well-known for so, of course, we had to try it. It is served with a Fresno chili relish and toast milk bread. I was definitely wowed by the presentation of this dish which was very photogenic and looked very mouthwatering. The bone marrow was very rich which went well with the milk bread, which was toasted perfectly and very soft. The flavor of the bone marrow was a bit strong for me, it was quite tangy and acidic. In my opinion, the flavor was too overpowering for the bone marrow and I couldn’t get the satisfaction I expected to get from bone marrow. I don’t think this is a bad dish, I just think that the reality was far from my expectations and if I had adjusted my expectations, I wouldn’t have been so disappointed. The bone marrow itself is plentiful and very satisfying to scrape off of the bone, but the flavor profile was not one I was looking for in this dish. However, I know many people enjoy this dish so I wouldn’t discourage you from trying it if you like bone marrow.
Their American wagyu flat iron steak is made with black garlic butter and served with crispy potatoes, grilled shishito peppers, and bordelaise sauce. This dish is very filling and they really give you a lot of bang for your buck, including a generous portion of the wagyu steak itself. I don’t believe that they asked me how I wanted the steak to be cooked. I generally like my steak medium-rare or medium at most, so in my opinion, their steak was a bit overcooked. It was tougher than I expected, nothing too bad, but I expected a lot more for an American wagyu steak. It came pre-cut which is nice and it wasn’t ridiculously chewy, it really didn’t require too much chewing at all, but rather it was a bit on the drier side and slightly rough as well. The flavor, however, was on point, the meat was well-seasoned and the potatoes it came with were very delicious.
Lastly, their brussels sprouts, which are made with a kimchi vinaigrette and a slow poached egg on top. This was one of the standouts of this meal. I believe there is also pork belly added to this dish and it definitely leveled it up from a simple vegetable dish. The brussels sprouts themselves were well-done and very crispy and flavorful, they definitely make a good vegetable dish on their own. However, with the added slow poached egg and pork belly, this dish became one of my favorites. The pork belly has great flavor and added a bit of sweetness to the dish due to the seasoning it was cooked in. And the poached egg added so much creaminess and flavor once the egg yolk was burst. This is definitely a great side dish.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the must trys here is their cocktail, the Lay Lady Lay. This cocktail is made with ginger, framboise, and sparkling wine. This sounds simple but the ginger really adds an amazing kick to the drink and helps it go down the throat very smoothly. After each sip, there is a bit of warmth that comes from the ginger that is different from the burning of alcohol after you drink it. It is relatively sweet, but once again counter-balanced with the ginger flavor. This is an absolute must if you are looking for a cocktail to try. Their All Things Must Past is quite nice as well. It is made with Blanco tequila, rhubarb, fermented plum, and passionfruit. The fruity flavor is there, but not prominent. Overall, this drink is good, but nowhere near the Lay Lady Lay.
I believe in addition to their main restaurant and bar, they also have a special speakeasy that is slightly harder to get into. I have personally never been but I have seen it when I was at the restaurant, so be sure to be on the look out for that when you go in case you want to give it a try! The drinks at the main restaurant are already so good so I can only imagine the drinks at the speakeasy would be even better. Plus, speakeasys are always a fun time and there is not much to write home about the food at the restaurant itself anyway (no shade just truth - but maybe I should go back and give them another try).
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