After months of anticipation, Craft 14 Kitchen and Bar opened in Wilton about 2 weeks ago. Run by the team that manages the nearby Bianco Rosso, Mario Lopez and Cristina Ramirez, Craft 14, in the Stop and Shop plaza, has a lively, but informal vibe, and a small but varied and interesting menu. They call it a “polished casual New American restaurant,” and we think this describes it very well.
The restaurant consists of a bar area with high-top tables, and lower tables to the right, and a semi-open kitchen area where you can watch them from some of the tables. You can also eat on the semi-enclosed patio area in good weather. When the restaurant fills up, as it did last Saturday evening, it’s pretty lively, but you can still easily converse.
Normally we don’t write a real review so soon after a restaurant opens, since they deserve a shakedown period before being scrutinized, but Craft 14 really got everything right and we are going to dive right in and praise their food.
The menu is divided into soups and salads, sandwiches, small plates, supper, sides and desserts. In each category, you’ll find some simpler items and at least one spectacular one. For example, they have a conventional Wood Fire Classic Burger ($12) and an absolutely over-the-top Wood Fire Craft 14 Burger ($18), which includes ground beef, crisp pork, charred tomato, fried egg, brioche bun lathered with warm “cheese sauce.” We didn’t order this one (yet) but our neighbor did, and it was a burger requiring cutlery. In fact it required a couple of meals to finish, as he took half of it with him. But it really looked delicious. They also have a salmon and a ground chicken sandwich.
In the Soup and Salad category, you’ll find Clam Chowder, Halloumi Salad, and Beet Salad among other things. We’ll definitely try the clam chowder next time, but the Beet Salad ($15), made red and golden beets, Asian pear, pistachios orange segments and a yogurt and mint dressing was excellent.
Among the Small plates, we ordered the Ricotta Croquettes, served hot with applewood bacon, tomato confit and Chipotle honey ($12). You get four sizeable croquettes, so it is not unreasonable to share one or even half of them. The portions here are really generous!
And again, among the Small Plates, they have 3 kinds of macaroni and cheese: conventional ($11), Four cheese ($12) and Lobster ($15). We generally think that restaurants serving mac and cheese are silly, since it is so easy to make at home. But not this one! The Four cheese version was rich, hot and creamy. Apparently, rather than starting with a béchamel base, they started with heavy cream. Not only was it excellent, it was huge, and came home for lunch the next day.
The Supper section of their menu included chicken, lamb, pork chop schnitzel, branzino, sirloin steak and hanger steak. But, to us, the spectacular item was the Fried Chicken and Waffles ($20), something you seldom see outside of the American South, and it was really well executed. The chicken was tender and juicy and the waffles crisp, but tender. A small amount of syrup was drizzled over the chicken and waffles, but a small pitcher of syrup was provided, giving you the chance of going either the sweet or the savory route. This was a fun find in a New England restaurant.
They have a small dessert menu including, I think, a mousse and some ice cream, but to top off the over-the-top theme, they also offer a Banana Split!
This is a restaurant we’re going to be going to again and again, and we wish them well. Our bill, with 3 drinks was only $87.