Crafted-The Art of the Taco revamps an old classic



Expanding flavor: Old El Paso makes various salsas, stand-and-stuff tacos and churro bowls for markets around the world, ever expanding the popularity of the taco. (David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS)

Caitlin Herlihy

Traditional meets trendy at Winston-Salem’s new taco joint. Located on N. Liberty St., Crafted-The Art of the Taco boasts an elaborate selection of gourmet burgers, fresh salads and, of course, a variety of tacos.

The chain originated in Greensboro before expanding to Winston-Salem last fall. Since its opening, the restaurant has quickly escalated to a local favorite.

Strands of white lights dangle overhead, and the simplistic décor establishes an effortlessly cool vibe. The warm lighting and floor-to-ceiling windows create an inviting atmosphere perfect for grabbing dinner with friends. Patrons have the choice between sitting at a private table or opting for the community tables in the center of the restaurant. The restaurants’ energy is infectious, and the attentive wait staff zips around from table to table.

The restaurant was packed for dinner, so we took a seat at the bar while we waited for our table. We started with chips and guacamole — a personal favorite no matter where I go.

The crispy chips were cooked to perfection, and the guacamole was both creamy and chunky.

We washed the Chips and Dip appetizer down with one of the many craft beers available on tap.

Crafted-The Art of the Taco claims to be a taco joint, rather than a traditional Mexican restaurant. Each recipe is a collaboration of international influences ranging from Asian to Mediterranean cuisine. Customers can select their preferred taco style — Po’ Boy, Oxford, ‘Mericanized and more — and pair it with a variety of protein options, including chorizo, braised chicken, pulled pork, falafel and seared tuna.  Guests can transform any taco style into a burger or rice bowl, as well.

I opted for the Baja Style and Wayfarer tacos. The Baja Style featured cilantro, guacamole, Baja sauce, pico de gallo and your choice of meat. The Wayfarer taco included pulled pork, Korean red sauce, sesame marinated cucumber and red onion relish. To my disappointment, the tacos were smothered with sauce, masking the various flavors inside the tortilla. My side of pimento macaroni and cheese, however, was mouth watering.

We capped the meal with an order of churros and fried-dough pastries smothered in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with warm chocolate sauce. Although the presentation was lacking, the churros themselves were sweet and delicious.

While I admired the whimsical recipes and charming décor, I would prefer The Porch or El Rancho to fulfill my taco cravings. Nonetheless, Crafted The Art of the Taco is a perfect spot for drinks and an appetizer or two. Pull up a spot at one of the community tables, and you may make a new friend.