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I note in this thread a repetition of the notion that restaurants in New York are generally more expensive than in other cities. My instinctive view is that this isn't so. It certainly may be true that NYC has a very large number of expensive restaurants, and that they tend to be grouped in small areas, and these factors may give a perception of high price, but comparing like against like I have generally found them pretty similar to London.

I acknowledge that I haven't been to Craft, but judging from what I read I would think that $85 - $100 is entirely reasonable, and very much in proportion to places like Foliage, Petrus, Capital and so on. I cannot remember a meal at the high end in New York which I found to be unduly expensive (against expectations), and I have always found middle-to-low end restaurants in NYC to be amazingly good value compared to London.

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For Union Pacific, the following menu is more recent:

http://www.unionpacificrestaurant.com/page...ges/dinner.html

(reference to heirloom tomatoes app still suggests possibility of some amount of "datedness")

The dinner prix fixe was still $68 as of the last time I visited (late October), although there was available a wonderfully priced pre-theater menu (with the same range of dish selection as the prix fixe) at $45. It is perfect prior to Lincoln Center performances, though a bit far, because the inside of the restaurant is somewhat dark anyhow and one does not have a sense of being at a pre-theater dinner. I might even consider it for evenings when I do not have an actual performing arts event to attend.

I had a good-to-very-good meal at Union Pacific. The restaurant is now offering a $45 prix fixe menu for the pre-theater period (seating prior to 5:45 pm for Saturdays, prior to 6:00 pm on other days) that offers *the same* selection as UP's regular $68 prix fixe menu.

Taylor Bay Scallops with uni, tomato water, and mustard oil, with glass of Paul Georg Blanc de Blanc

Wild Scottish Wood Pigeon, with porcini and a winesap chutney ($9 supp), with glass of Pinot Noir Ladoix "Vieilles Vignes", Edmond Cornu 1998

Lemon three ways with Pistachio Cream, with Muscat Beaume de Venise, Belingard 2000

[Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream and huckleberry sauce, complimentary]

The amuse was a small serving of haricot verts, with a bit of dark proscuitto on top and an acidic apricot vinaigrette. This was appropriate, and a nice, quiet opening to the meal. The haricots were appropriately "crisp".

Then, my first sampling of DiSpirito's signature dish of Taylor bay scallops with uni. This was appealing, with a large circular base of ice with strewn strands of evergreen- and mauve-colored seaweed on top of the ice. Five to six small (clam-sized) scallop shells sat on top of the ice. Each contained about a 50/50 split of nicely-textured scallop and sea urchin, together with a clear liquid that had acidity. I thought it was the citrus-like, "clean" aspects of yuzu and was right, although the mustard oil also expressed itself a bit towards the end to a very limited extent. The dining room team member indicated the scallops were to be held in one's fingers and kind of "drunk" to capture the liquid, essentially a tomato water with relatively limited tomato aspects. Overall, a very good dish.

There followed a small cup of pumpkin veloute, which was nice.

The wood pigeon was from Scotland, and perhaps that accounted for it having a somewhat different flavor from the palombes I have sampled. However, the wood pigeon was a good dish, although not as unabashedly "gamey" as palombe. (Note it was sufficiently gamey). The flesh was presented medium-rare, which was appropriate -- flavorful and evocative. Nice thin layers of cepes aka porcini (sliced relatively thinly from large mushrooms) and celeryroot, almost in a loose "medium" millefeuille or thin lasagne composition. Saucing was appealing, with jus-focused base and connotations of the texture of chestnuts (likely not included) and the taste of mushrooms. There was a "loose" "ring" of very softened (appropriately) potato puree surrounding the base of the vegetable millefeuille-like item.

UP has wine by the glass suggested for every dish on the menu. ...

The three forms of lemon included in my dessert were (1) panna cotta, (2) custard, ,and (3) sorbet. ...

The total bill was $110 before tips, a good price taking into account the three glasses of wine ordered by the glass (includikng a $18 Bordeaux) and bottled water. ...

Edited by cabrales (log)
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  • 1 month later...

NYC Day Two – Craft

Dinner, Craft, 43, E 19th St. – One of the best meals I’ve ever had. Such quality and simplicity in massive doses. This place *made* the trip for me.

A beautiful dining space, well-spread tables, cool leather wall, and dim bulbs hanging by the dozen from the ‘factory’ ceilings. We sat opposite the bar, and were immediately made most welcome. I had a fino sherry, which was a good choice to accompany the amuse-gueule:

Amuse-gueule – Bruschetta with a thick, barely-warm ‘stew’ of cannellini beans and cavolo nero, drizzled with olive oil. Crisp bruschette all round, and the beans were smooth, creamy and tasty, with the iodine twang of the cabbage and grassiness of the oil making for a delicious mouthful of flavours. The juices were now officially flowing.

To begin with – The table ordered the roasted foie gras, sweetbreads, rabbit ballotine, garlic and herb risotto and yellowfin tuna sahimi. The foie gras was a huge wodge of seared liver sitting in a small bowl with a strong, silky reduction of what I presume was chicken glace, dessert wine and a few brunoised vegetables. It was ambrosial. The ballotine was brilliant – really rabbit-y, tender and moist. The sweetbreads were crisp-roasted, and unctuous within, and the yellowfin was so fresh, we presumed the donor was still alive when it was filleted. The risotto was impeccably knocked-together, creamy and balanced, with a perfect bite to each grain. No accompaniments, as is the way of Craft, but this just means you get quick, clean hits to the palate of perfectly-executed, faultless flavour. Good country breads, yeasty, chewy and used to great effect, mopping up the drizzles of oils and sauces.

Then – Roasted guinea hen, braised lamb shank, Dourade, Venison. Sides of: cipollini onions, roast salsify, roasted hen of the woods, roasted hedgehog mushrooms, potato gratin, roasted fingerlings, potato puree. We were hungry, ok? The guinea hen came in a large copper dish, the breast roasted and carved, the leg mi-confit style. It was a delicious bird. The lamb shank was rich and winy, loaded with rosemary and garlic, but in no way overpowering, the meat full of good lamb flavour, and tender as you’d imagine. The dourade was two large pieces of filleted fish, quick-seared, with a great golden crisp exterior yielding firm just-cooked tender flesh within. My venison was the best I’ve ever had – obviously marinated for a good long spell in red wine with lots of juniper, then blasted through a hot oven and rested well. It was a huge, tasty piece of meat. The mushrooms were, well, roasted mushrooms, good earthy flavours. The potato puree was in the Robuchon style (loaded with cream and butter, triple sieved, passed though silk pantyhose and whipped by angels wings, then drizzled with oil and sprinkled with chopped chives) It was brilliant. The gratin was creamy throughout, and not bombarded with cheese as many are. The cipollinis were soft and golden-roasted, and I ate most of them, because they were damnedly good.

And Then – Well, you have to try a little cheese, don’t you? $22 got us a selection of all six cheeses on offer, and all were in prime condition. Especially good was the Roaring Forties blue from Tasmania – aggressive yet seductive – and the Old Quebec Cheddar, which, to use my local phrase, ‘made my ears laugh’.

Oh, And Then – Battle-scarred but determined, two of us made it through to the dessert course. I had the gingerbread, and my wife had the chocolate tart. We had sides of comice pear, butterscotch ice-cream and hazelnut ice-cream. It was all fabulous, perfectly-executed stuff. My gingerbread was a huge sense slab of stodgy (in a good way) molasses-ginger cake, and was excellent.

Wines – We had a pleasant Savennieres, a very good Russian River Pinot Noir, and the desserts were accompanied perfectly by a Huxelrebe Trockenbeerenauslese from Erich Bender. Nectar.

Coffee – I was the only one to make it to the coffee stage, and it was another disappointing espresso. For a country noted for its coffee appreciation, I can’t believe how many badly-made espressos I had. No crema, thin liquor, and way too much Kenyan which just makes the stuff taste burnt. You need at least 50% Santos to get the right result, in my opinion.

But hey, out of all that only the coffee came out bad. It was a truly unforgettable meal. I popped downstairs to see chef and thank him personally – goodness, he’s young. And Matthew MacCartney, the maitre d’, was very pleasant and interested in what we’re doing over here. I also pointed out an unnoticed Alfred Portale to him, which he thanked me for. Always good to know when the opposition is in the area!

Craft is, quite simply, fantastic, and I will remember my meal for many, many years to come.

Edited by Stephen Jackson (log)

Ready to order?

Er, yeah. What's a gralefrit?

Grapefruit.

And creme pot... pot rouge?

Portugaise. Tomato soup.

I'll have the gralefrit.

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I ate at Craft Bar last spring. I went intending to try a dessert I had been drooling over for weeks. As i sat and ate dessert, i think it may have been the gingerbread dessert with creme fraiche, I decided to order the fried oysters bc they sounded wonderful, and they were. As I was finishing up my jasmine tea the table next to me got their dessert, it was a panna cotta, but I can not remember what kind,, something exotic, so., yes, I ordered that too. Craft was serving lavender icecream all summer and I missed it! Hopefully it will be back soon.

I have yet to try the main dining room. I was a bit hesitant, because of the way one ordered, I had dinner at Ducasse's Spoon, in Paris, and though the meal was excellent, I think that I prefer to have my meal composed for me, instead of choosing, but after that past review, I think I ll somehow be able to try it!

lauren

"Is there anything here that wasn't brutally slaughtered" Lisa Simpson at a BBQ

"I think that the veal might have died from lonliness"

Homer

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  • 2 weeks later...

I ate at Craft a few nights ago. It was pretty much what stephen said.

The room is a beautiful amalgam of textures and natural materials, that

contribute to a warm glow in the dining room. It is a perfect marriage of food and design, as the food is as honest as is the design . We had

the same amuse bouche, the foie gras, and scallops, thinly sliced in a

lime marinade. All excellently prepared and except for Arpege, where the scallops were sliced micrometer thin, translucent and altogether,

from another realm, these were very good.

Main courses, were quail, marinated in balsamic vinegar, sauteed and then roasted. These were succulent and crispy. The hanger steak

that my son ordered was a large portion of expertly grilled beef with

the chewy consistency of the cut and very flavorful.

The sides of potato gratin and roasted hedgehog mushrooms,were

good choices, they were deliciously prepared.

We had glasses of sauterne with the first course and a pinot noir, from

Germany for me and a cabernet franc with the second. All were suggested

by our waiter, when we asked his opinion and all were good

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I didn't finish my post because I couldn't figure out how to extend it.

We shared an assortment of sorbet and ice creams. standouts were the caramel ice cream and the three sorbets, Jasmine tea, blood orange

and passion fruit. I just wanted to add that this is the kind of restaurant that I could visit often and be very happy in if I had the

money to afford it on that basis.

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  • 2 months later...

Overall, I was impressed by Craft. The food was maybe a little below expectations (but then my expectations were very high) and my "service gremlin" struck again unerringly (but then it has been that kind of a week :sad:) but altogether this was an interesting and enjoyable experience.

The room and the decor is, as everyone seems to agree, pleasant and airy and bright. Our table for five was oversized and comfortable.

The menu is terrific, although I can understand a first-timer being somewhat daunted by the presentation. Of course I had the benefit of reading many reviews here, and also I was dining with old hands, so we got straight into the "how shall we structure this meal, and who likes what" discussion. The variety and balance of dishes was excellent. I can't even remember what the others in the party had, so I'll confine myself to reporting what I tried.

"My" appetizer was hamachi. This arrived as four thinly sliced strips laid in a square, lying on a slightly yellow colored marinade of some sort (very sharp and actually a nice flavor which I couldn't identify) and covered with small chips of celery which had been soaked in the marinade. The celery was crunchy and acid, and excellent. The hamachi was pretty bland, and very much overpowered by the marinade, and didn't have that slightly "chunky" texture that I prefer. This was a pleasant dish, certainly raised a level by the celery, but I thought not otherwise well conceived.

I tasted a veal sweetbread, and that was quite superb. Light, nicely flavored, excellent texture, good presentation. OK, so I chose the wrong appetizer :wacko:

My choice of main was a roast poularde (for two) which I shared with my table neighbour. He assured us that a poularde is the female equivalent of a capon, and this prompted much interesting biological and surgical discussion at the table :laugh: It seems that what he meant was that this is a young female chicken which is milk fed. The chicken looked wonderful on the dish. The meat (both leg and breast) was an excellent color, and the presentation was excellent. I found the meat very garlicky, but far from unpleasant, and both I and my co-eater found the meat a little on the dry side. But make no mistake, this was top quality meat, well prepared.

I tried the Kobe skirt steak, which was my nomination for the most striking looking dish on the table. The meat was beautifully gradated from a bright, rich red in the centre to a dark purple on the outside. The flavor was excellent, definitely different from "ordinary" steak, with a subtle herby flavor. The rare portion of the meat was beatifully melt-in-the-mouth soft, but the outer rim was noticeably tougher, and the "skin" was actually hard and chewy. Might this be the skirt cut rather than the norm for Kobe ? This was my first taste of Kobe beef, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I have to say that at $42 for the portion (I guess 12oz) without vegetables, I'm not convinced I consider it good value as against a steak at Luger's say.

The vegetables I tried were roast Jerusalem artichokes (excellent), morels (very good, but not my favorite mushroom) and peas (very good).

The wines were a Montpeyroux (?sp) which was a beautiful, light Languedoc red and an Australian Shiraz (excellent, spicy and full wine).

And so to dessert, or as it turned out, not. OK, so the service problem occurred again (my third time in a week) and it was I who caused the problem.

Let me step back to our arrival at the restaurant. Our group of five arrived at 9.41pm for a 9.45 reservation. Yvonne announced us to the hostess and the conversation went something like this :

Hostess: Your table isn't ready yet.

Yvonne: How long will it be ?

Hostess: You are early. The reservation is 9.45 and it's only 9.39 (actually it was 9.42).

Yvonne: Yes, that's quite alright. How long will we have to wait ?

Hostess: You'll have to wait at the bar. There are no seats but you can stand.

Yvonne: No problem.

(There is now a long, long pause)

Hostess: (With a big tone of surprize) Oh, do you want to check your coats ?

We checked the coats and went to stand at the bar, which was very crowded, but about five minutes later we were taken to our table. At the time, this wasn't a big deal, but I did feel that the hostess's attitude was very offhand, almost to the point of rudeness. And quite unnecessarily so.

Moving on to the ordering, we remarked at the time that our server, a very chirpy,pigtailed young woman, was very slow and offhand in taking our order for wine. Her first arrival at the table was cheerful and very theatrical. She went through her "Have we all eaten here before" script and then seemed to disappear for a long time. She came back to take the wine order. Our table expert :wink: chose the Montpeyroux and then asked for a second wine which they no longer had. He asked her for a suggested alternative, and she was clearly out of her depth because our expert thought little of her proposals. So he told her to leave the list with him for a few minutes. It must have been at least fifteen minutes before she returned to take his order. We then had to wait maybe another twenty minutes before they brought the first bottle of wine, which just managed to precede the food. Not good.

And so to our non-dessert. We were given dessert menus, but I had noticed on the tasting menu a dish of compote of rhubarb and raspberry which was exactly what I now fancied. I asked the server if it was possible for me to have that dish. Her instant answer was something like "That dish is not available", a phrase designed to indicate that whether or not it was available in the kitchen, they did not as a matter of policy serve tasting menu dishes to those who ordered a la carte meals. Yvonne now asked "Are you saying you don't have any, or are you saying you just won't serve it to us" (I think she wanted to order it too) and the server replied "No, that dish is not available". So Yvonne suggested she go and check with the kitchen. I don't even know if she ever did this, but she flounced off and returned ten minutes later to say "That dish is not available". I said that in that case I wouldn't have a dessert, and the others said the same (whether just in solidarity or not, I will never know :huh: ). "Any coffee ?" asked the server ? "No". "Any drinks?" "No". So she brought the check, we debated the tip and settled on 9%, paid and left.

I was reminded instantly of the contrast at Blue Hill, where I made an identical request (for a much more complicated and "quantity controlled" dessert dish) to which the instant reply had been "Certainly, sir, that will be no problem". At Craft, bear in mind that we were at about 11.45 pm, and the chances of anyone else ordering a tasting menu were slim, and in any case it is unthinkable that for a compote they had not overprepared quantity. If they really had run out, a simple "Sorry, but we have run out" would have sufficed, and there would have been no problem. The response we got was arrogant and unwarranted, and the tip she got was her just dessert ( :raz: pun intended). Someone at the table said "I wonder what Danny Meyer would have said about his protege".

The cost was just under $90 a person, including tax bit not tip, for two courses and wine. Despite the sad service experience, I still rate Craft highly. It's a place I could go back to often and never run out of dishes and combinations to try. I'll just have to try and avoid seeing anything on the tasting menu that I might like to try, and to be sure to order wine they have in stock, and to arrive exactly on time :wink: Craft is worth all of that.

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Macrosan, considering the "attitude" you were getting from your server, and since you say you are not even sure she ever actually checked with the kitchen -- it took her 10 minutes to get an answer?! :shock: -- did it not occur to you or your dining companions to ask to see a manager who might have been able to accomplish your dessert request? If not, perhaps, he or she would have been able to give you a more courteous explanation of what exactly was going on.

So sorry that bad service seems to have trailed you during your visit. But, at least, in this case, you reduced the tip sufficiently! :wink: (Courage in numbers? :biggrin: )

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Hey Rozrapp, you really are determined to train me in dealing with bad service, aren't you ? :biggrin:

11.45 pm was just to late to embark on that path. Incidentally, the ten minutes might be a slight exaggeration, but it was certainly five :wink:

In fact, my companions were all experienced New York diners, and it was they who proposed the reduced tip :rolleyes: If I had been the "senior" person at the table, I would like to think I would have reduced the tip in the same way, but I can't be sure. Perhaps if I had your cellphone number, I would be able on future occasions to call you and seek your proposals on individual cases :laugh: Hey, come to think of it, that could be a great moneymaker --- Dial-a-Tip !!!

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Hey, come to think of it, that could be a great moneymaker --- Dial-a-Tip !!!

Excellent, Macrosan! Something like, "Stop! Before you do any rash tipping, call us for advice!" We could start it up in NYC, then franchise it in cities around the world. :laugh: Anyway, I'm glad to see that, despite all, you've managed to retain your sense of humor. :smile:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Saturday evening, Jason, Rachel, Bond Girl and myself had dinner at Craft. We had a 5:30 pm reservation and didn't get out until close to 9:30. It was my first experience at Craft, but not my first experience with Tom Colicchio's cooking. (I had a less than thrilling time at Gramercy Tavern in 2002, but that's another thread. :wink: ) Quite simply, Craft blew me away, and I *will* be back on many more occasions, just to get a taste of everything else on the menu that I missed the first time around.

As this is Monday and we didn't take notes, my memory might be a little hazy, so here goes:

Apps:

salmon belly: EVOO, sea beans, sea salt

foie gras terrine: fig mostarda, citrus zest mostarda, brioche

quail: with rosemary and herbs, balsamic reduction

Kumamoto oysters: mignonette, lemons

baby beet salad: golden and other beets (unsure about accompaniament)

Mains:

Kobe steak (unsure about accompaniament)

Ruby shrimp (guys? can you post a clarification?)

Monkfish: tomatoes, olives, fish broth

Sturgeon

Baby carrots, tossed in butter and herbs

roasted Jerusalem artichokes

sauteed lamb's quarters

morel mushrooms, sauteed in butter (I think this was one of the outstanding dishes we had; it oozed butter, but in a good way)

polenta (if I had a criticism, this was it, as I like a more solid and less soupy polenta)

gnocchi

sugar snap peas

(I know I'm missing at least a few other apps and entrees)

Dessert:

chocolate souffle

sorbet and ice cream sampler -- licorice, buttermilk, black mint, and caramel ice creams; strawberry/lime sorbet and grapefruit prosecco sorbet. (Buttermilk was a nice mix of tang and sweet; black mint was overwhelmingly minty, very clean tasting and refreshing; licorice seemed like an afterthought, with just a faint licorice flavor; strawberry/lime seemed like a nice combination although there seemed to be a more pronounced lime-ish flavor but that could be my imagination; grapefruit-prosecco didn't really resonate with me at all.)

petits fours

Jason can fill you in on what wines were ordered (Rachel and I stuck to water.)

A dazzling experience. I think they just gained a new customer. :smile:

Cheers,

Soba

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The sturgen was excellent. A firm white fish loin wrapped in prociutto. Simple and delicious.

I think the shrimp were Red Rock Shrimp. They were described as deep ocean shrimp fished near Maine. They came to the table so perfectly cooked. I had one more towards the end of the appetizers and you could detect that it was a little more cooked at that point, but still excellent.

The beet salad is an assortment (golden, red, striped, all small beets) of quartered cooked beets and sliced raw beets with a light vinaigrette. Oh, and it was Spring Peas with shoots, not sugar snap peas that were brought to the table.

You forgot about the skate, which was served with a lemon beurre blanc rather than brown butter.

I agree about the strawberry-lime sorbet, it tasted more of lime than strawberry. But disagree about the mint, it was delicious, not overwhelming. I didn't love the grapefruit-prosecco, but it tasted very true to both flavors. The souffle was excellent as well, but the best bit was the ice cream sandwich petit four.

We'd been to Craft once before, almost exactly a year ago. I remember that everything seemed over-salted then, they seem to have corrected that problem.

edit: The chef also sent out a lovely strawberry rhubarb tart or cobbler wtih freshly whipped cream, very very good.

Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)
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The skate was wonderful though I didn't add the lemon butter sauce. The most memorable part of the meal for me was the morels and the baby carrots. I considered the two at opposite end of culinary spectrum, as one is rather common, and the other rather rare, but both are done to perfection.

The Hamachi with sea beans has inspired me to grab a handful of sea beans at the supermarket yesterday. No recipes yet, but I'm going to experiment with them this week.

The meal was definitely worth the trek out in the rain.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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I'd also like to know what the tab was, as I've heard that things can get out of hand at Craft pretty quickly. Plus, I'm planning a NY trip in September and need to decide where to go.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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I'd also like to know what the tab was, as I've heard that things can get out of hand at Craft pretty quickly.  Plus, I'm planning a NY trip in September and need to decide where to go.

Along those same lines, and for much the same reason, does this menu seem accurate, offering and price-wise?

BTW, that sounds wonderful.

Rice pie is nice.

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does this menu seem accurate, offering and price-wise?

Yes, that menu looks similar to the one we were offered, with a few seasonal variations. It came to about $110 pp (inclusive). That's with a few glasses of wine & bottled water. The tasting menu looked very interesting and is offered for $85. A few of the dishes mentioned (the quail, peas, and the rhubarb tart come to mind) were sent out to us by the chef, as Jason & Marco had a nice chat before the others arrived (a lot of the staff read eGullet).

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Thanks Rachel. We're staying within walking distance, and I know at least I will have an abnormal amount of free time in the area alone, so maybe I'll check out Craftbar, form an opinion, and go from there. Thanks again!

Rice pie is nice.

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