The pretty nondescript Crystal Lake Plaza on Curry Ford Road has recognized itself as a bazaar for bon vivants of sorts, and not just mainly because of “The Beef People” at Winn-Dixie. Over the past couple of several years, Theo’s Kitchen, Roque Pub, Papa Llama and JJ’s Fresh have all burrowed themselves into the plaza’s aging (and reasonably priced) confines, bringing a plurality of flavors to a promptly diversifying Curry Ford West.
In that combine is Uncommon Catering, the boutique corporation run by Tara Vernau-Smith and her partner, Travis. It originated at East End Market prior to the few moved operations right here to Camp Crystal Lake. It can be no horror environment, not by a lengthy shot, but I like the thought of a billboard with a hockey-masked Jason Voorhees proclaiming, “The foodstuff listed here completely slays!”
Agreed, allusions to Friday the 13th are a curious ploy, but I couldn’t perhaps use a prevalent unit to explain the fare at Unusual Catering, now could I? Not with a menu that includes a hodgepodge — albeit a targeted hodgepodge — of these types of assorted items as bao, empanadas, poke, hen and biscuits, and charcuterie boards. Admittedly, I did not anticipate these an amalgam of killer choices (most likely the ’80s camp counselor in me), while I in all probability should really have.
It can be a fetching area, this eatery, not without having aesthetic parallels to the lounge at Reyes Mezcaleria, with its knick-knack-filled cabinets, mod lighting fixtures and mirrors, and cozy seating. But UC’s dishes are most likely additional linger-deserving than their trappings. I observed myself staring at the colourful ingredients of the citrus beet salad ($11) for a fantastic very long while before digging in — blended greens and plump blueberries were being tossed with rosemary-roasted walnuts, goat cheese crumbles, the salad’s requisite roasted beets and clementine segments. It all looked so vivid and seductive served within a gleaming white bowl sitting down atop a veined slab of quartz. It tasted even greater, specially when drizzled with a citrus-basil vinaigrette.
But when empanadas stuffed with olive-tanged picadillo beef ($10) and bao buns enveloping grilled, Tajin-flecked achiote-orange shrimp ($12) had been established right before us, I understood the eatery was about a lot more than just appears to be. The guac, toasted pepitas, pickled purple onions and adobo aioli included visible attract to the trio of bao, but it also lent a proper heft. My quibble was with the jalapeño-cilantro sour cream served with the empanadas – it, conversely, designed just about every bite also weighty. A lighter dip with the exact same amount of kick would make for a additional balanced chew.
Tara’s a Pennsylvania transplant, so it is really no surprise she pays homage to DiNic’s inside of the Looking through Terminal Market with a herb-roasted pork sandwich ($12). The shaved tenderloin is served on a hoagie from Amorosa’s (not Sarcone’s) with sharp provolone, broccoli rabe and banana peppers — an add-on Tara states presents the sandwich some zing. She’s appropriate, and she serves it with a pork au jus to make one particular helluva sandwich. We savored it with fries ($4) seasoned with Moroccan spices (cumin, smoked paprika cinnamon to title a several) and served with a pear-ginger jam. The fries went properly with the lump blue crab cakes ($14) as effectively, which, by the way, ended up disposed of in a make a difference of seconds.
And in what I can only describe as a gluttonous suit, so have been the fantastic strawberry-lavender and blueberry-lemon double cheesecakes ($4), both created in residence and both paralyzingly indulgent. They had been Uncommon’s coup de grâce. 1 spoonful was like Jason striking a loss of life blow to one of his unsuspecting victims. It was curtains, lights out, finito.