Ciao, Crudo! Beloved Valley Restaurant to Re-Brand

Written by Nikki Buchanan Category: Openings/Closings Issue: September 2018
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cullen fullCullen Campbell, chef-owner of Italian-inflected Crudo on Indian School in Central Phoenix, is not a status quo kind of guy, which partially explains his new plan to broaden the restaurant’s scope and ditch the Crudo name while he’s at it.

He and his staff have been batting around a few names, but they haven’t settled on anything yet. They hope to find a moniker that reflects the more global approach the kitchen will take while also revealing something about the menu’s stronger emphasis on seafood. "Crudo" means raw in Italian.

Although few dishes will be “fixtures,” Campbell says, we can expect to frequently see options like pan-fried Greek sardines (from Nelson’s), raw deep-water oysters drizzled with brown butter, clams with pork belly in lobster stock, and chopped swordfish belly with olive oil, lemon and capers.

A few of the current cheese courses may be eight-sixed, but pastas will continue to be a mainstay, as will those ridiculously good pig ears, which may be presented in a new Vietnamese-inspired preparation: a papaya salad with basil and cilantro, dressed with a vinaigrette composed of fish sauce, lime and pickled chiles.

Campbell says customers will find it easier to graze and to put an affordable meal together  – something difficult to do at the current Crudo dining room. Happy hour won’t change much, which is a good thing, given that it’s already one of the best in town.

Although the décor will get a little sprucing up, the restaurant will remain open through the change, which should be in place sometime during the first week of October.