When Saugatuck Craft Butchery moved across the street to bigger digs, it added The Kitchen. Think of it as Westport's new luncheonette. Thoroughly contemporary, it features Saugatuck Craft Butchery's pasture-raised, local meats. There aren't a lot of seats – a counter for six, a table for five. It's take-out, really, but take-out with the best ingredients. And you can shop for dinner.
The Kitchen smells pleasantly of burgers. The weekly menu, printed on brown paper, is straight-up simple: sandwiches and salads, burgers crafted from a blend of grass-fed, dry-aged burgers. We want to sit, and after a pile of delivery boxes are moved, we slide on slushy storm floors to a wood table in a sunny corner. It's a pleasant space, with gray walls and a rustic-industrial vibe.
The food's served on wood chopping boards, casual, contemporary and thematic. The Craft Classic burger rests between toasted-on-the-griddle sesame seed brioche. Seared outside, pink inside, the burger is loaded with flavor. And if the baby lettuce doesn't stand up to it, the raw, red onion does. (I wished for seasonal toppings.) The Cabot cheddar is sharp and rich. My friend would prefer American. I disagree. But I'm missing a swipe of mayo or sauce on the brioche bun (ask for it when you order the classic).
The BLT is loaded with crisp shards of house-cured bacon on a toasted kaiser roll smeared with a mild garlic aioli. Baby greens and tomato don't stand up to all that bacon, but it's February and tomatoes and lettuce are weak.
For a place that specializes in meat, Craft does a great job with salad. Craft's colorful Cobb Salad is laid out on a chopping board: baby spinach in light buttermilk dressing, showered with crisp bacon, crumbled gorgonzola, sprightly red onion, chopped red tomato and a lovely, quartered egg. The salad was hearty, fresh, easy to share. And $9 (all sandwiches and salads) was more than reasonable.
Shoestring fries were as thin as noodles. Crisp, addictive, and nicely salted, they didn't need to be dipped into ketchup: a must-order item.
Craft's menu changes weekly, recently featuring Korean-inspired steak bulgogi with pickled onions and radish on a hero, and lamb burger with garam masala aioli. On weekends, brunch stars steak (dry-aged) and eggs (farm-fresh), and organic chicken with sage waffles. But with limited seating and hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.), you might want to call in your order and eat elsewhere.
After eating we perused the prepared (mac 'n cheese, chile, mirepoix) and frozen (rabbit, goose, frozen meatballs) food cases. In the butchery I spotted cross-cut cow shank, $6.99 a pound. Braised with red wine and root vegetables, it was a glorious dinner. Put Kitchen@Craft on your list of places to grab a sandwich and salad and to shop for dinner.
Kitchen@Craft is at 580 Riverside Ave., Westport. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Information: 203-226-6328 and craftbutchery.com.Copyright © 2015, CT Now