By Denise DePaolo
After finding myself in Brookings several times on Mondays – Craft’s only closed day – I finally got a chance to try one of the newest additions to the city’s dining scene on a recent Friday. The scant signage and understated exterior gave few clues to the dining experience my friend and I were about to have. My first thought upon entering was, ‘Wow, this is pretty nice.”
It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the dim lighting, which was honestly a nice break from the early autumn sun. The interior was decorated tastefully in a restrained combination of industrial, yet modern, brick and wood with metal finishes.
One thing that was very striking was the professional demeanor and appearance of all of the front-of-the-house staff. This thought was driven home when our tie-clad server, Tyler, greeted us and went through the day’s features. He left to grab our drinks, and as we looked through the menu, the next striking thing was the pricing. It was like the words on the menu and the prices just didn’t add up. Perhaps we’re used to being gouged, but half the menu was under $10, with the most expensive item being the $12 Prime Rib French Dip.
So, we ordered the aforementioned French Dip, plus the Crab Cake Burger, and the Crispy Pasta Rosa. Both of our sandwiches came with salad or soup, so we ordered both soups of the day (French Onion and Clam Chowder), which were delivered promptly.
Let’s talk about these soups. Holy crap. First of all, this was legit French Onion. The top was covered with blistered, gooey cheese, and once that layer was traversed, we found the next layer of broth-saturated croutons. Beneath the croutons, was a pitch black treasure trove of caramelized onions and as much salty, oniony flavor as one could ever imagine packing into a mere broth.