Saturday afternoon drinks are essential to getting your second wind, just like siestas are essential during your lunch so that you can power through the work day. While in need of some afternoon delights, we chose to visit Craft House Table & Bar located at McAllen’s Courtyard Plaza, a plaza filled with local food, clothing shops, dance and pilates studios.
Since this past March, Craft House has taken on the challenge of revamping and reworking this precise space located on the second floor. For years, this location has undergone various ownerships and has seen numerous eateries rise up and fall for a number of reasons. Craft House has gone through yet another remodel, including the movement and extension of the entire bar.
Although the elevator was not working (possibly because it was before dinner time), we passed their outdoor Pergola on the ground floor (available for dinners and cocktails under the moonlight), climbed up the stairs and entered a live-version of a West Elm catalog. Chic chairs, wooden tables, an art piece with the words “Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful” (don’t quote us on that), and a modern chandelier reminiscent of its sister restaurant on Nolana Avenue.
The New American menu has “bites”, entrees, pastas, tacos, flatbreads along with desserts like Riley’s Cookie Jar made with delectable cookies and treats that “will take you on a sweet adventure” as their menu states. They have your typical cocktails with a mix of their very own concoctions.
Trisha: My inner teen was amused by a drink and wanted to shout it out when ordering, but I had no intention of drinking it, so I simply whispered to Gaby, “One Missionary, PLEASE!” She laughed and shook her head at me. What I actually ended up ordering was thePuerto Rican Slush,sans simple syrup. Not a fan of the sweet, thick liquid. However, either the liquor was saturated in sugar or there was in fact simple syrup in my cocktail. No worries, a good Old Fashioned to the rescue!
Gaby: You know me, Cucumber Martini! It’s a standard of measurement for cocktail bars in our area.
INSIDER’S TIP: Craft House has a daily Happy Hour from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and all day Tuesday. Enjoy $6 selected cocktails (Old Fashioned, Daiquiri, Moscow Mule, Cucumber Martini and the Puerto Rican Slush) $2 off all beers, and ½ off select appetizers. Additionally, enjoy $5 Old Fashioneds on Tuesday, Cucumber Martinis on Wednesday and Moscow Mules and Thursday.
In typical fashion we ordered a selection of Happy Hour appetizers to make sure we could taste a variety of food; Lemon Miso Hummus (lemon miso hummus served with celery, cucumber, carrots and grilled pita bread), Pork Belly (oven roasted pork belly roll stuffed with herbs and spices served with pea purée and a side of wonton chips) and Mexican Grilled Street Corn (grilled corn, Crema, Chipotle mayo, butter, Queso Fresco, cilantro & Pasilla Salt). By far, the Mexican Grilled Street Corn won the battle of the appetizers.
Trisha: I just wished they would have given us some corn holders or something to hold on to those corn ears when trying to chow down on that “Street” Corn. We would have looked much more civilized.
Gaby: I did feel a bit odd eating in a relatively expensive place and having to grab and bite into my “elote”!
Not to be outdone we chose to share the Lobster Roll (chunks of lobster tails, tossed in a spicy lemon aioli and pepitos, served on a roll) with a side of Mac and 3 Cheese (Mac & Cheese prepared with three cheeses and topped with toasted bread crumbs), but upon the arrival of our entree we asked, “Where’s the roll?”
Trisha: While the presentation was charming, we were served our Lobster Roll on what seemed to be King’s Hawaiian Sliders. New England is bowing its head in disbelief.
Gaby: I had been to Craft House once before and that was definitely not what I got! I had the picturesque East Coast Lobster Roll.
Our Mac and 3 Cheese was made with Gruyère, Cheddar and Parmesan served in a mini-skillet. But like Gabrielle Union’s infamous line in Ten Things I Hate About You, “I know you can be underwhelmed, and you can be overwhelmed, but can you ever just be, like, whelmed?” our mac and cheese didn’t cause us any ruckus.
We’d like to see how the passage of time will affect Craft House and what will flourish from this somewhat cursed space. We appreciate their unique events like “Speak Easy” Sundays and wine tastings; this is something that will definitely help them to find their niche in a competitive environment.
Craft House Table & Bar is located at 5401 N. 10th Street #203, McAllen, TX, 78504. Hours of Operation are: Tuesday & Wednesday 4:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m.; Thursday-Saturday 4:00 p.m.-2:00 a.m.; Sunday & Monday closed. You can reach them at (956) 322-8626 or by following their various social media accounts @crafthousemcallen.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.