Crushing It

Walking into CrushCraft Thai on a chilly weekend evening, it is hard to resist falling for this place. The warm, inviting atmosphere infiltrates the air, and the high ceilings with colorful hanging flags put you in a festive mood. The delicious aromas of fresh spices, upbeat music and a welcoming staff all make you feel like you have come to one of the nicest spots in Frisco to enjoy authentic Thai food. The final touch? A symbol on the front of the menu that literally means “love” in Thai.

CrushCraft has only been part of the new dining scene at The Star since last August, but it is already making a big impact in the area. Born in Thailand, the chef and co-owner, Jack Nuchkasem, has created a flavor destination that transcends Frisco from Texas to the Far East. For those searching for big, bold flavors in a pleasant, rustic, friendly atmosphere, you do not need to hop a plane to Thailand, or even drive to CrushCraft’s Uptown Dallas location – just mosey on over to The Star and saddle up to the table. 

As a tofu lover and someone who never really embraced the abundance of beef options on most local restaurant menus, I was pleasantly surprised to find tofu featured prominently on the menu. From the tofu fries to the spring rolls with tofu (and the most delicious peanut sauce I have ever had), it was fun to try some new and unique items. The spring rolls tasted very fresh and had the perfect amount of crunchy lettuce to compliment the rice paper and soft tofu inside. It was a great appetizer that may become a main course for me next time I visit CrushCraft. 

Local Deborah Lee loves to dine out in Frisco and try all the newest restaurants. She recently dined at CrushCraft and says she will definitely be back again. She tried the Kra Pho and Khao Phat. Both entrees were tasty and the ingredients were very fresh. She enjoyed their spice bar and appreciated that the spices were labelled from mild to spicy. She loved that there were several spices to choose from, which enabled her to add her own personal flair to the meal. 

Ms. Lee’s choice of Kra Pho is one of the restaurants signature dishes. Ground pork, fresh basil, bell peppers and onions are perfectly-seasoned and served over jasmine rice with mortar-smashed chili and a fried egg on top. It is a substantial meal that will satisfy the palate and take away any hint of a hunger pang. Similarly, the Suar Rong Hai is also served over jasmine rice with chargrilled certified angus beef, Thai eggplant compote, chili jaew sauce and is garnished with carrots and red cabbage. The steak is exquisitely-seasoned and cooked to perfection. 

The perfect starter to any meal enjoyed at CrushCraft could be the grilled beef and pork meatballs. The spicy, tender meatballs are served skewer-style and are a delicious bite-size snack that keep you busy while waiting for the main course to arrive. Luckily, that does not take long. Service is attentive, quick and very accommodating. 

Many appetizer plates are garnished with red cabbage and peanuts. You may be tempted to skip the garnish, but think twice. The crunchy cabbage and lightly-seasoned peanuts are a very tasty combination! 

For those intimidated by spice, CrushCraft is the ideal testing ground. Customers are given the choice to order meals with any type of spice level range from low to hot. If that is not enough, there is a help-yourself spice bar with sauces labeled from mild to hot. If you are in the mood to dabble with spice and not feeling fully committed, start with the red chili garlic (the name is deceptive. Do not be fooled — it is almost sweet) or the serrano pickle. Thai chili flakes and chili oil are the hottest! Like I did, you can sprinkle them onto your meal with gusto if you are looking to turn up the heat a couple notches. 

If you are savoring all that flavorful, spicy goodness, you are going to want a drink to go with it. CrushCraft has a variety of Texas draft beers on tap like Deep Ellum, Community and Bishop’s Cider. I tried the Coconut Lycheetini made with Deep Eddy vodka. It is simply sublime. Made with a real lychee nut, the martini is a melt-in-your-mouth experience with just enough alcohol to help you relax after a long, hard day (or order it at lunchtime, if your schedule allows).

The name “CrushCraft” comes from the love of Thailand, its many flavors and the passion for crafting food by hand. The restaurant mostly uses a mortar and pestle to make sauces, curries, etc. It is obvious from the menu choices that the team is very proud of its heritage and what Thai food brings to the scene. The name does not just stop at the cuisine. For CrushCraft, the experience of being in a Thai restaurant – in Thailand – is represented beautifully in the décor. Vibrantly-colorful hanging flags, blended with natural, high-beamed wood ceilings are inviting and cheerful. The space is also decorated with many Thailand license plates, which gives it a world-traveler type of vibe. 

As if delicious food, great drinks, affordability and an artsy, casual atmosphere are not enough, CrushCraft takes one last step with an eco-friendly approach to their dining. It is like the cherry on top of the cake, or, in this case, the chili on top of the rice. The bowls, plates, bags, forks, spoons and everything you can think of, including the straws, are bio-degradable. 

CrushCraft Thai is located at 3675 Gaylord Parkway #1105 at The Star. Call 972.712.8888 or go to crushcraftthai.com to make a reservation or to check out the unique, culturally-infused menu. 

Frisco STYLE Magazine dining reviews are not scheduled with or paid for by the featured restaurant. All reviews are completed for the purpose of helping readers know and enjoy local dining options.

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Lisa Dawson is a full-time working mom of three, a freelance writer and a Frisco resident.