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Craft


yvonne johnson
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The Craft concept and the tapas concept are certainly brethren in the sense that they operate outside the international mainstream system of organization for a restaurant meal in the Western world.

Without wishing to go around the same block again, I thought you had previously argued the complete opposite: namely that Craft's menu was reminiscent of old-fashioned menus where long lists of entrees and sides were separately listed. :blink:

Suzanne mentioned the reliably stone cold pommes boulangeres. I hope some of the food served to Jay's party was hot.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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In my (admittedly limited -- 3 visits) experience there, everything always arrived at the table hot. Everything then cooled down, because I am a fairly slow eater. It was only that dish that turned dowright nasty when it cooled off. But maybe now I'll remember and not order it yet again.

(edit to correct verb tenses)

Edited by Suzanne F (log)
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The Craft concept and the tapas concept are certainly brethren in the sense that they operate outside the international mainstream system of organization for a restaurant meal in the Western world.

Without wishing to go around the same block again, I thought you had previously argued the complete opposite: namely that Craft's menu was reminiscent of old-fashioned menus where long lists of entrees and sides were separately listed. :blink:

I don't see those as opposites. Tapas are nothing new either.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I dined at craft three months ago, and, though I enjoyed the meal, I wasn't overly impressed. I found a lot of the things on the menu pretty much at the level of any number of good contemporary bistros here in Paris, where I live.. it was pretty pricey too, for what it was (unsophisticated, rushed service, long wait for the table despite reservations,etc...)

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Let me add, as a fan of Craft and as a person of moderate income for whom the restaurant is a a splurge and as someone who accepts the concept of value in expensive things, I do feel that Craft is somewhat overpriced. Perhaps the balance sheet would demonstrate otherwise. Perhaps overpriced is a poor word choice and someone can help me find a better word. But a meal there really adds up. That doesn't stop me from eating there, but it keeps me from eating there as often as I'd like because I'm more likely when on my own dime to opt for what I see as better value at, for example, Gramercy Tavern.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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At most restaurants at that level you order no sides. The veg just comes on your entree plate. Perhaps this is all just an illusion under which I'm laboring on account of the presentation style or the way in which the restaurant triggers me, but I do get the sense that, yes, to put together a fully satisfying meal within the context of the restaurant you have to spend a lot of money.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Let me add, as a fan of Craft and as a person of moderate income for whom the restaurant is a a splurge and as someone who accepts the concept of value in expensive things, I do feel that Craft is somewhat overpriced.

I agree with you, FG, Craft is on the pricey side. The side orders really push the price up. Craftbar next door is pretty good value I think.

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Personally I think Craft is overpriced if you order ala carte. But my experience is that when you order the chef's choice menu the price nets down to something more reasonable. It has been running around the $100 a person mark for dinner before t&t but it varies depending on what they have fresh that day. And it isn't that this pricepoint is so good on its own, it's the quantity and quality they serve you. Especially if you are a large party like 6 people.

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The tasting has always struck me as antithetical to the Craft concept -- not that I really know what the concept is anymore. It just strikes me as a deeply a la carte restaurant. But hey, I've got no problem with carving my own niche within a restaurant so next time I suppose that's how I should order.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Let me set you straight here Fat Guy. The tasting is just the chef choosing the best ala carte items of the day. How's that? And I don't neccesarily mean the printed tasting menu. I mean telling them to bring you a raw fish course, charcuterie course, warm fish course and a meat course and they choose what it is including the sides. You will be quite pleased I assure you. And if that's too much food (ha) tell them to cut out one of the courses. I always cut warm fish first.

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I didn;t see Jay Rayner's post in reposne to mine until I saw Nina copy that quote.

Jay - What I meant to say (I thought I actually said it) was that I thought it was a good idea that you described who your review was geared to before you posted it so we could respond within the right context. But I was not commenting at all on your readership not knowing anything about the NY scene. I wouldn't expect them too. And my point about the cost wasn't to say that it is cheap or it is expensive, my point was that within that category of restaurant, I happen to think it is reasonable and you get a lot for your money if you organize your meal properly. But no I wasn't passing comment on whether $100 a person for a dinner was worth it or not to your readers because I wouldn't know. And as for my gerneral comment about restaurants and cost, I think you will find that I am quite consistant saying that the quality of a restaurant is a discreet issue from its cost. Sure a recommendation as to whether something is worth it or not for a customer is a helpful piece of information but, that chicken you had at Craft tasted good or bad and its cost had nothing to do with it. Cost only goes to whether it's a wise spend or not.

Otherwise, I think you should remove some of your last post as you make allegations you couldn't possibly support, including the ones that Nina pointed out as well as a few others.

Edited by Steve Plotnicki (log)
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Despite his vast riches, Steve - oddly, when you come to think of it - doesn't pay me to defend him. And he can look after himself. But here's a freebie.

I think Steve said that $100 a head was reasonable for the food consumed at the Rayner meal. Within the context of restaurant prices in central Manhattan, his remark is absolutely unexceptionable. Yes, you can run up a steep bill at Craft if you order numerous sidedishes. But is the restaurant's pricing way out of step with its market? Absolutely not.

Comments about price I see in in various forums (and the chocolate thread springs to mind as a recent example) often seem to me to reflect a naivete about what things actually cost. Steve's correctives in these contexts are frequently valid. We can deplore the fact - and I can quite understand many of Jay's readers will do so - but you can easily pay $70 a head (before tax, tip and wine) for a lousy meal in a corner bistro in Manhattan these days.

Edited by Wilfrid (log)
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Who has a Craft menu handy? Let's forget all this touchy feely nonsense (like my post above) and move on to hard data.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Who has a Craft menu handy? Let's forget all this touchy feely nonsense (like my post above) and move on to hard data.

Steven -- I might have typed up a Craft menu from several months back onto the board. However, I don't have the time currently to parse through the Craft threads in search of it.

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I wish more restaurants had web-sites with indicative menus. Because, agreeing with Fat Bloke, what we really need is to compare a Craft menu with menus from, say, Veritas, Union Pacific, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy tavern, etc, in order to see if it is out of line with its market.

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Indeed, wouldn't it be really great if someone published a book full of such menus that we could all use as a handy reference?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I wish more restaurants had web-sites with indicative menus.  Because, agreeing with Fat Bloke, what we really need is to compare a Craft menu with menus from, say, Veritas, Union Pacific, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy tavern, etc, in order to see if it is out of line with its market.

I just checked, and it appears that the Craft website has never been updated since it went up before the opening. Does amazon.com still have its online menu component?

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Who has a Craft menu handy? Let's forget all this touchy feely nonsense (like my post above) and move on to hard data.

Steven -- I might have typed up a Craft menu from several months back onto the board. However, I don't have the time currently to parse through the Craft threads in search of it.

From Dinner at Craft, page 4:

Below is the current dinner menu at Craft ("*" denote dishes taken in during a recent meal with robert and Susan brown; overall assessment of the cuisine -- average-plus, with a good-plus Porterhouse and very good steamed lemon pudding):

FIRST COURSES

-- Fish & Shellfish

Raw

* Fisher's Island Oyster 3

* Wellfleet Oyster 3

* Belon Oyster 3

Glidden Point Oyster 3

Yellowfin Tuna 18

Hamachi 14

Cured/Marinated

Arctic Char 13

* Squid 12

Sardines 14

-- Meat

Charcuterie

Proscuitto 12

Foie Gras Terrine 18

Duck Terrine 18

Rabbit Ballotine 13

Roasted

Sweetbreads 12

Foie Gras 20

Quail 11

-- Salads

Mizuna 12

Beets 12

Mixed Lettuce 12

Arugula 10

Frisee 12

Stringbeans 12

MAIN COURSES

-- Fish & Shellfish

Roasted

Skate 22

Halibut 24

White King Salmon 26

Striped Bass 25

Braised

Lobster 30

* Monkfish 26

Red Snapper 25

--Meat

Roasted

* Organic Chicken 24

Sirloin 35

Sweetbreads 24

Quail 26

Hangar Steak 22

Loin of Lamb 28

* Porterhouse for Two 72

Braised

Beef Shortrib 24

Rabbit 26

SIDE DISHES

-- Vegetables

Roasted

Asparagus 8

Red Peppers 7

Jerusalem Artichokes 7

Carrots 8

Spring Onions 7

Sauteed

Spinach 7

Lambs Quarter 7

Sugar Snap Peas 8

Braised

White Asparagus 12

Wax Beans 7

Spring Peas 8

* Spring Peas & Proscuitto Risotto 12

-- Mushrooms

* Roasted Hen of the Woods 12

Roasted Shiitake 8

Marinated Chanterelles 10

Roasted Bluefoots 12

* Braised Morels 13

Truffle Vinaigrette 6

-- Potatoes

Gnocchi 9

Puree 7

Gratin 7

Boulangeres 8

* Roasted Fingerlings 7

-- Grains & Beans

Lentils 6

Farro 6

Soft Polenta 7

Marinated Chick Peas 7

The Current Chef's Tasting Menu ($85) is as follows:

-- Marinated Squid, Marinated chick peas and arugula

-- Roasted Halibut, braised sweet peas and braised morels

-- Roasted Quail, sauteed lambs quarter and soft polenta

-- Braised beef shortrib, braised wax beans and potato puree

-- Balsamic Strawberries with vanilla ice cream

-- Dessert sampler

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Such an obvious idea, that some fool is bound to do it :raz: .

Anyway, I found Cabby's menu (Rachel got there first). It confirms my hunch. Entree prices in the low to mid-twenties are very fair for a restaurant of this standard. They are in line with prices I paid at Aix - a less ambitious restaurant in a less fancy area. At Aix, the entrees were garnished. I think if you pair one side dish with each entree at Craft, you come out with prices in the low thirties. Still fair. However, I believe diners average more than one side per entree - which starts to be a lot of vegetables. Unless you're careful, you are then paying around $40 per entree (which is really more appropriate at a level up from Craft), but there's also a fair chance you are over-ordering, or ordering unnecessarily because the stuff sound nice.

$85 for the chef's menu is exactly what the price should be.

(I don't know how much it's changed in the last yearm but this has not been a period of steep hikes in restaurant prices.)

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