Crudo means raw in Italian, which is Chef Cullen Campbell’s specialty. It’s sashimi with an Italian-style flair (think less ginger, more basil and olives.) Campbell’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 Campbell only uses the best local produce to deliver a truly original experience.
Equally delicious are bartender Micah Olson’s magnificent cocktails, which provide the perfect complement to Chef Campbell’s cuisine. Micah uses an extensive, handpicked list of spirits and farm-to-glass ingredients to craft cocktails with absolute precision. The signature Daring Dutchman is a bold offering made with Bols Genever, housemade apricot syrup, mascarpone, fresh lemon, and fennel pollen. Go green with the Garden Sour, an aromatic concoction made with Hendricks Gin, celery juice, basil, mint, jalapeño and lime juice. Those looking for something light and refreshing can enjoy the Dazed & Infused, made with sparkling wine, strawberry-infused aperol, fresh lime juice and passion fruit syrup.
Arriving at the location feels very much like discovering a little-known gem, as you venture behind the unsuspecting Gaslight Square shopping center. Tall green plants front a windowed entry way that entices. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a jigsaw of pastel shutters arranged behind the reception desk. As you explore the dining room with low, mid-century style armchairs and intimate lighting beneath twenty-plus-foot ceilings – you realize that this is a real escape. It’s not about others in the room; it’s about you and your company sharing an intimate moment. The restaurant is outfitted with simple fixtures, comfortable furnishings, industrial accents, modern concrete flooring, dim lighting, and window-encased alcoves. The décor works well when brought together, much like the exotic combinations in the cuisine and cocktails.