Chef Cullen Campbell
Since opening, Phoenix Magazine named Crudo the #1 new restaurant in Phoenix and food critic Howard Seftel of Gannett’s Arizona Republic gave the restaurant 4.5 stars out of 5. For further insight, you can read the review here.
In April 2012, Chef Cullen Campbell and his front-of-the-house counterpart and fiancé Maureen McGrath created a warm, inviting space with Crudo. Crudo means raw in Italian, which is Chef Cullen’s specialty. It’s sashimi with an Italian-style flair (think less ginger, more basil and olives.) Maureen heads the house with charm, while Cullen mans the kitchen cranking out exceptional Italian cuisine like you’ve never experienced. It was their dream project, and to see it come to fruition has given them undeniable satisfaction.
Chef Cullen was determined to open his own restaurant as far back as his college days in Memphis, Tennessee. However, when his time came, sushi had been done and redone to the nth degree. Wisely, he decided to do something different; he chose to focus his creativity on raw foods with Mediterranean flavors. Cullen discovered “crudo” cuisine; learning its fine points, tweaking and improving as he educated himself.
Cullen and Maureen developed the Crudo concept for years, cultivating and perfecting the model to its definitive form. Prior to the official opening, the team operated a prototype Crudo in the back of a Scottsdale beauty salon. Finally he opened his concept in a local neighborhood destination which had been vacant for almost two years. The duo took a risk and a leap of faith. Almost 6 months in, the new location has found success and has received an incredible amount of support from the community.
Cullen’s pedigree does not end with raw cuisine. The menu is simple in structure, broken down into four distinct elements; crudo (raw), cotto (cooked), mozza (mozzarella), and griglia (grilled). There are several signature items that remain permanent along with seasonal options for each category, but within that handful of items is a surfeit of variety. Dishes such as Squid Ink Risotto (paired with decadent tuna confit) and the raw Ahi Tuna with smoked olives, lemon and egg, are decidedly unique and synonymous with the restaurant itself. The flavors are delicately crafted to the exact degree that they compliment the dish, such as black garlic in the Albacore crudo, horseradish dusting on the Short Ribs, or the precise ratio of caramelized onion and bacon relish served with their Fresh mozzarella. Meats are cooked on a custom-made wood-fired grill, mozzarella is pulled fresh daily, and Chef Cullen only uses the best local produce to deliver a truly original experience.