Bradstreet Neighborhood Craftshouse
1930 Hennepin Ave. S.
I loved it when it opened in 2009 in its hideaway in downtown’s Graves Hotel. I love it even more today, when — after a somnolent hiatus — it recently re-emerged on the fringe of Uptown, occupying the former Auriga/Rye Deli space. It’s Bradstreet Craftshouse, cozily inserting the word “Neighborhood” in its new name and reach.
Its series of discrete space (choose your ambience) are downright pretty — no threat to the Lyle’s crowd across the street. So are the cocktails, the original Craftshouse forte. And, in this reincarnation, so’s the food. There are burgers ($12–$16) for those who place their trust in patties; half a dozen entrees ($16–$22) for the ravenous, but the kitchen’s focus — admirably, I’ll lobby —I s on a panoply of small plates ($6–$14) that are not so small, actually. Two of us were sated after sharing four dishes (yet greedily ordered a fifth, just because).
Dinner begins with a complimentary mini-coupe of elderberry-infused bubbly, a lovely welcome as we dove into a tangle of sautéed long beans, crisp-tender and drizzled, Asian-style, with an oyster vinaigrette just salty enough to wake the plate, under its savory sprinkle of garlic-toasted cashews.
I’d give a thumbs-up to the pork neck toasts, too, except those digits were fully occupied in shuffling the tasty squares to my gaping mouth. Sure, pork neck is a flimsy disguise for F-A-T, but how yummy, especially where paired with sweet, caramelized onions, sorrel, and a drizzle of kewpie (Japanese, eggier) mayo.
As antidote, the lobster mac and cheese — which trades the usual thick, rich sauce for a lighter touch, marrying fluttery torchio pasta leaves with fragrant truffle oil, toasted crumbs and sweet, coral shards of lobster meat. For a partner plate, we chose kalettes (I didn’t know, either: a husky, deeply green cousin of kale) tossed with sweet snips of dates, succulent lamb belly, a shower of pungent goat cheese for balance, and a subtle touch of sumac.
For a finale, instead of dessert (the usual suspects), the ahi tuna tartare — a tennis-ball scoop of the sweet, ultra-fresh flesh brightened with a zippy painting of sriracha mayo, a toss of ponzu chips, and a side of ginger ice cream (dessert after all). Ginger, fine. The scoop’s over-sweetness, not so much.
We had our eyes on the salads ($8–$13), but couldn’t make it. Another time: the roasted beets; the asparagus/sweet pea mélange; the classic French lardon/poached egg number. And those cocktails! My Blueridge Manhattan (Bulleit rye) came with a tiny beaker to refill my glass, while my companion’s vodka-and-bubbly-based Cooper’s Union arrived in a tall, slim flute. Both marvelous. So are the user-friendly hours. Sip and dine daily till 2 a.m.