Nice Restaurant and Bar in Downtown San Diego – Crafts and Trade | Dinh Lee

Craft & Commerce is located in downtown San Diego near Little Italy and Waterfront Park. They focus on contemporary comfort food and wood-fired dishes. This is definitely one of San Diego’s nightlife hotspots with their extensive bar and cocktail list (which includes one of my all-time favorite cocktails: Lay Lady Lay) and a great dining experience .

First and foremost, their marrow bone is one of the dishes they are best known for, so of course we had to try it. It is served with a Fresno chili relish and toasted milk bread. I was definitely wowed by the presentation of this dish which was very photogenic and looked very appetizing. The bone marrow was very rich which went well with the perfectly toasted and very soft milk bread. The bone marrow flavor was a little strong for me, it was quite pungent and sour. In my opinion, the flavor was too strong for the bone marrow and I couldn’t get the satisfaction I expected from the bone marrow. I don’t think it’s a bad dish, I just think the reality was far from my expectations and if I had adjusted my expectations I wouldn’t have been so disappointed. The bone marrow itself is plentiful and very satisfying to scrape from the bone, but the flavor profile wasn’t what I was looking for in this dish. However, I know a lot of people enjoy this dish, so I wouldn’t discourage you from trying it if you like bone marrow.

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Their American wagyu flat iron steak is made with black garlic butter and served with crispy potatoes, grilled shishito peppers and bordelaise sauce. This dish is very filling and they really give you what you pay for, including a generous portion of the wagyu steak itself. I don’t believe they asked me how I wanted the steak cooked. I usually like my steak medium rare or medium at most so in my opinion their steak was a bit overcooked. It was tougher than I expected, nothing too bad, but I expected a lot more for an American wagyu steak. It came pre-cut which is nice and it wasn’t ridiculously chewy, it really didn’t require too much chewing at all, but it was more like a little drier and slightly rough too. The flavor, however, was on point, the meat was well seasoned and the accompanying potatoes were very delicious.

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Finally, their Brussels sprouts, which are made with a kimchi dressing and a slow poached egg on top. It was one of the highlights of this meal. I believe there is also pork belly added to this dish and it definitely improved it from a simple vegetable dish. The Brussels sprouts themselves were well cooked and very crispy and flavorful, they definitely make a great vegetable dish on their own. However, with the slow poached egg and pork belly added, this dish has become one of my favorites. The pork belly has lots of flavor and added a bit of sweetness to the dish due to the seasoning it was cooked in. And the poached egg added so much creaminess and flavor once the yolk popped. It is definitely a great side dish.

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As I mentioned earlier, one of the must-trys here is their cocktail, the Lay Lady Lay. This cocktail is made with ginger, raspberry and sparkling wine. It sounds simple, but the ginger really adds an amazing kick to the drink and helps it go down your throat very smoothly. After each sip there is a bit of heat that comes from the ginger which is different from the burning of alcohol after drinking it. It is relatively sweet, but again offset by the flavor of ginger. It’s an absolute must if you’re looking for a cocktail to try. Their All Things Must Past is also very nice. It is made with Tequila Blanco, rhubarb, fermented plum and passion fruit. The fruity flavor is there, but not prominent. Overall this drink is good, but far from the Lay Lady Lay.

I believe that in addition to their main restaurant and bar, they also have a special speakeasy which is a little harder to get to. Personally, I’ve never been there but saw it when I was in the restaurant, so be sure to be on the lookout when you go in case you want to try it! The drinks at the main restaurant are already so good that I can only imagine the drinks at the speakeasy would be even better. Also speakeasys are always a fun time and there’s not much to write home about the food at the restaurant itself anyway (no shade just the truth – but maybe I should y go back and give them another try).

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