Craig Deihl makes Good Food finals, crafts new bar menu 

An artisan at work

Craig Deihl is an inventive guy. And if you don't believe us, perhaps you should head to Cypress and check out the chef's latest culinary creations. Deihl, in addition to turning out handcrafted charcuterie for his Artisan Meat Share project, has revamped the bar snack offerings, making use of locally raised pork and beef and freshly caught seafood.

He's created a an extensive menu with more than 20 items that range in price from $5 to $15, and if you haven't discovered this secret yet —sitting at the bar and snacking is a pretty affordable way to treat yourself to haute cuisine.

Some classic favorites remain on the bar menu — like the Trotter Tots ($7) made from mustard seed and spice-cured pork trotters, braised, picked and then fried, served over Cajun boiled peanuts, and barbecue sauce — but he's added some new creations that are sure to become fast favorites. The Charleston Crab Rolls are made by hand and served on a challah bun with celery leaves and Louis sauce (the traditional version has mayo, cream, bell pepper, green onion, chili sauce, worcestershire, and lemon). He also has a hearty lamb BLT (LBLT, if you will), which comes on brioche ($7). But the most intriguing, in my mind, is the chili dog made from beef brisket ($7). As a chili dog connoisseur, I'm interested to check out Deihl's interpretation. I have a hunch it'll be tasty.

Elsewhere on the bar menu you'll find one of our longtime favorite bites, the sashimi tuna and oysters with cilantro-lime glaze and pineapple wasabi. It's a cold, bright flash of flavors. And there's also the charcuterie and house cured meats platters, which are both worthy of awards.

Speaking of awards, Deihl has made it to the final round of the Good Food Awards, a new competition from San Francisco's Seedling project that is designed to recognize artisans who create food that is "tasty, authentic, and responsibly produced."

Deihl entered his Cypressata in the charcuterie category. Finalists were announced on Nov. 15 and winners of seven categories in five U.S. regions will be announced in January.

So, stop by Cypress, sit at the swanky upstairs bar, and salute the craft of Chef Deihl. It'll be good luck for him. Cypress is open 5:30-10 p.m. Sun.-Thurs. and until 11 p.m. on Fri. and Sat.

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