Openings and Closings

At Uptown's CrushCraft, Thai Street Food Is Off to a Hot Start in Cold Weather

By Candace Tharp

Jack Nuchkasem and Paul Singhapong, the Golf buddies turned restaurateurs who ran the kitchen at Cru, spent two years searching for the right location for their new venture, and then they found it: Quadrangle in Uptown. The long journey has proven worth it already.

After being open for only a little over a week, crowds at CrushCraft, their new restaurant devoted to authentic Thai street food, have been steady and strong, despite the cold Texas weather. On Monday alone, Craft said, they served around 200 customers at lunch.

Patrons need to have an open mind when dining at Crush; this isn't your average American-ized Thai food. Crush earned its name from the mortar and pestle preparation style. Fresh ingredients are thrown in and ground together to intensify the flavor of each dish. Their menu is a compilation of traditional dishes that the owners grew up on. The #9 Crew's Favorite is the chef special and will change periodically. Currently it features steamed chicken atop rice pilaf with what Nuchkasem calls "a mean ginger sauce." The owners are always around greeting the customers, and if needed will sit down with you to explain how to properly eat sticky rice.

Fork? No.

Chopsticks? Nope.

Hands? You got it.

Its rolled around in your hands and then dipped in the sauces of your dish. I was schooled.

Designed by Jones Baker, the interior of Crush Craft brings you into what Nuchkasem describes as a Thai food alley. The color, fresh herbs, and bags of jasmine rice surrounding the restaurant are enthralling and make for an awesome late-night environment (they're open until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday).

Their papaya salad may help you out the next morning, with its fresh pepper, garlic, ginger, thin papaya slices and sweet and sour sauce. The spice itself may punch you sober, and if it just isn't enough for you, the owners have set out a serious spice bar in your honor.

CrushCraft 2800 Routh Street, Suite 150 Dallas, TX  75201 (972) 677-7038