The innovative fall menu at Craft House in Dana Point will warm your heart and your belly. Autumn brings cold air and hearty appetites, and Craft House’s new seasonal menu offers the best comfort food and best fall menu items in town. From savory shrimp dishes and crispy Brussels sprouts to their quintessential fall salad and unique seasonal and classic cocktails, there’s something for every palate. “This is just the start of the fall menu, and there will be evolutions that happen over the next few months,” explains owner and Executive Chef Blake Mellgren. “If you come in today and then come in two weeks later, you’ll see three different things you haven’t seen before.” Here are six dishes to savor this season at this charming spot on Pacific Coast Hwy.
1 | Shrimp + Ya Ya
Created by Craft House’s sous chef Nolan Oxenham, this dish is like a cozy warm blanket for your soul. According to Mellgren, this rustic plate features jumbo shrimp, smoked gouda polenta, sweet potato hay, spinach, tomatoes and tasso ham cream sauce. Mellgren says, “He just took something we had [on the menu] and evolved it for the season and made it a little more stick-to-your-bones hearty.” Much of the seafood at Craft House is caught by Dana Point fishermen and delivered straight to the restaurant, making each dish fresh as can be.
2 | Fall Salad
Get ready to drool! This salad just screams fall, and it’ll make you actually want to eat your greens. Arugula and spring mix are sprinkled with candied hazelnuts and salt-roasted beets, then drizzled with honey and pepper vinaigrette and topped for the pièce de résistance with creamy whipped goat cheese. This bountiful bowl of garden-fresh greens and autumn-inspired vegetables is harvested, in part, from produce gathered at local farmers’ markets.
3 | Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Craft House gives Brussels sprouts the respect they deserve. They have flawlessly executed and perfected this fall veggie by roasting and topping it with crisp bacon and a smoky and tangy maple and mustard vinaigrette. This makes them crisp yet tender—the perfect appetizer or side dish! It’s also big enough to share, but you probably won’t want to.
4 | Salt N Peppa Shrimp
Move over calamari. This Salt N Peppa Shrimp dish is diving, and you won’t want to Push It away. Don’t let the name fool you with its simple ingredients; this appetizer is bursting with flavor. Crispy-coated juicy shrimp are seasoned generously and served with two delicious and perfectly complementary sauces, a sweet and creamy honey sauce and a piquant chili and garlic sauce. This will surely be your new favorite appetizer.
5 | Nate’s Old Fashioned
The bartenders at Craft House serve up some of the most delicious craft cocktails around. Nate is one of those bartenders, and Nate’s Old Fashioned includes bacon-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon and bitters and is garnished with a slice of bacon. “All of my primary bartenders get their own old fashioned, so I let them do what they want with those,” says Mellgren. “Nate wanted to do something with bacon in it and maple. It’s something totally different.”
6 | Kate’s Old Fashioned
When the temperature drops, you’ll want to warm yourself on the outside as well as the inside, and you can with this smoky cocktail. “Kate, one of our other bartenders, is a Scotch fan,” says Mellgren. “This is her interpretation of an Old Fashioned with scotch.” One of four crafted Old Fashioneds on the menu, Kate’s incorporates blended scotch, honey, walnut and Angostura aromatic bitters and Laphroaig mist. This cozy cocktail is then garnished with a sprig of smoked rosemary.
Photography By: Knife & Spork Public Relations
Published on localemagazine.com.