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Craft


yvonne johnson
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Not better, necessarily... but distinctly dufferent. It's a certain concept and a certain focus. Some people are going to really be into it and others won't. Some of the ingredients they have there (the mushrooms, for example) are probably the best in town. It may have been that you just didn't order the right things... or maybe the concept doesn't float your boat.

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um, ok....but does that make Craft BETTER than the other restaurant because of it??

That depends on the diner.

I would think that the basis used to judge Craft would be a diametrically opposed yardstick than the basis used to judge Le Bernadin, for example.

"Better" is not quite the word I would use here.

Soba

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Wow, mags is the first person I ever heard complain of too little salt at Craft. I like to use Craft as an opportunity to sample items I haven't tried before, if possible. I know that the ingredient is going to presented in the best possible manner for that food. It's where I first experienced Jerusalem artichokes and morels, for example.

Edited by Rachel Perlow (log)
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I have only been once, but My meal and my wife's meals are are good example of what Craft does right and what they don't.

My meal was a perfectly grilled Kobe Hanger steak, a side of perfect done chanterelles and a side of perfectly light and delicious gnocchi. I know I used the word perfect three times there, but that's the point.

My wife's meal was a monkfish in a brothy sauce. The sauce was good, the monkfish was good, but together they didn't really work.

I left raving about the place and she didn't get it.

Bill Russell

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It may have been that you just didn't order the right things... or maybe the concept doesn't float your boat.

I have not been to Craft, so I'm a little confused. If, as you say, Craft has a certain "concept," doesn't it extend to everything on its menu? If so, why would there be right things and wrong things to order?

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It may have been that you just didn't order the right things... or maybe the concept doesn't float your boat.

I have not been to Craft, so I'm a little confused. If, as you say, Craft has a certain "concept," doesn't it extend to everything on its menu? If so, why would there be right things and wrong things to order?

That's what I thought too, but some items are slightly more "composed" rather than simply "prepared".

As I understand it the concept has changed slightly from the original. A little less "do it yourself". Is this correct?

Bill Russell

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It may have been that you just didn't order the right things... or maybe the concept doesn't float your boat.

I have not been to Craft, so I'm a little confused. If, as you say, Craft has a certain "concept," doesn't it extend to everything on its menu? If so, why would there be right things and wrong things to order?

I should have been more clear. What I meant is that certain items (their mushrooms, for example) are more likely to make a big impression than others (their carrots, for example). This is not to suggest that their carrots aren't outstanding -- I really have no idea -- but it is suggest that it's a lot easier to impress someone with some kickass morels or porcini than it is some kickass carrots.

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As I understand it the concept has changed slightly from the original. A little less "do it yourself". Is this correct?

We went there on opening night and the menu was elaborately overloaded with choices . . . even the sauces and condiments were alacarte. Now the concept is expressed in fewer choices . . . sauces and condiments are part of the dish but sides are still alacarte and the cooking style is still minimalist. Is that a change in the concept? Maybe not. A change in the menu, yes.

Call me a philistine but count me among the people who can't quite get over the hurdle of paying a billion dollars for such basic food. Yet I love those mushrooms.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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Call me a philistine but count me among the people who can't quite get over the hurdle of paying a billion dollars for such basic food. Yet I love those mushrooms.

As a relative eating novice, i enjoy a place where I can eat unembellish high-quality product, to see what a good steak or well-roasted top-shelf mushrooms taste like. Then I can notice this quality from restaurants whose dishes have many components and sauces. I would go again, but I agree about the price -- I couldn't stop thinking that I had spent more for lunch at Craft than I would have for lunch at any 4-star.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Figure apps=~$12, mains=~$23-7, sides=$7-12

So for an app, main and two sides, you're at ~$55, plus wine and dessert, if you like that kind of stuff.

I had such great oysters at Craft.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Thanks, JJ.

I was talking with my friend mascarpone (that's his eGullet handle) over dinner tonight about Craft and Craftbar. Both of us feel like Craft is too expensive for us to go to unless someone else is paying, but I'm intrigued by Craftbar. It's a good deal cheaper, right?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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It serves very different food. But from this thread, I think it's worth a try.

You can eat cheaply at Craft, if you plan a bit. I try to do this at more expensive restaurants where you can order a la carte: go with four or five like-minded (and like-budgeted) friends for an early dinner, or late lunch, when there will be some empty tables, so you no one at your table feels pressured to order more than your plan dictates. Share a few mains (I'd suggest the hangar steak) and sides. Maybe an appetizer or two. You'll get out of there for $30pp. (Some people have to feel full after a meal to be satisfied with it. If you, or one of your friends feel this way, go next door to wichcraft after lunch/dinner and get the tuna sandwich with fennel and olives, which I think is so good it might deserve its own thread.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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The issue is that if you order conservatively at Craft you don't get the full Craft experience. The fewer people you have at the table, the more you have to over-order just to be able to taste a variety of items. Or, if you get up into the range of 6 people (which is ideal from a diversity standpoint), the portions aren't really large enough to eat family-style so you have to start doubling up on stuff. With 4-5 people, you can leverage your ordering to make Craft an economically viable dining choice, but it only works if everybody in the group is willing to order and eat for the benefit of the group. How often does that happen?

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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Good point Fat Guy...We commented during dinner that it would have been a better experience if we had another couple to eat with and share...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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  • 1 year later...

Any recent suggestions on what to try at Craft and what to avoid? I am going tomorrow and am very curious about proper planning on what to order to get the most of their unique menu.

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Any recent suggestions on what to try at Craft and what to avoid? I am going tomorrow and am very curious about proper planning on what to order to get the most of their unique menu.

Star attractions:

hamachi (if they have it), foie, gnocchi, mushrooms (in particular morels) and virtually all of their desserts.

I would say get their entire menu, but that might be a bit much. :wink:

In addition to the suggestions on this thread, check out tetsujustin's food diary which might give you a better picture of the Craft scene.

Soba

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I loved the plate I made of the aforementioned mushrooms (chanterelles), gnocchi and a Kobe Hangar Steak. From my experience and what I've read, sticking with the simplest preparations is a good way to go.

Edited by bilrus (log)

Bill Russell

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As Soba said, the gnocchi, foie, and mushrooms are sooo nice, simple, and fulfilling. I also enjoyed the sweetbreads and lamb shank when I went. All said, I think we spent about 120ish or a bit less for 2 w/o wine. Expensive, but not overly so. Craft is a pretty unique dining experience.

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I ate at Craft Sunday night and have to agree with Soba...order the entire menu if you possibly can. I'm in NYC for a week and this was our one "high" end meal so we went for it. We had a perfect table on the back wall and the four of us told the waiter to just bring out the Chef's best. (The other couple had dined there before). What followed was a wonderfully orchestrated meal that included some off menu items. We basically ate our way through the entire menu which came with a price. Around $350 per couple without wine (we brought our own)...I have no idea what the corkage fee was. But I am certain that they didn't charge us full menu price for each item. We literally ate everything.

Was it worth it? Yes. The quality of ingredients coupled with the deceptive "simplicity" of cooking and presentation created huge pure flavors. I'm hard pressed to choose a favorite dish or point out a poor one. Add in the lovely ambience of the restaurant and the excellent but unobtrusive service and it's coming close to a very top notch experience.

We've spent that much money eating at French Laundry and Manresa. Does it surpass them? Certainly not FL or I assume Per Se. It's close to Manresa. The cooking and concept at Manresa is much more creative but I am not sure the ingredients are quite as good. Hard to say on one visit in the winter. I'd go back to Manresa first. I suppose I shouldn't even try to compare.

My personal opinion is that Craft is not the type of restaurant to attempt to economize on. The best way to experience it is with a group and abundance.

It's not a 1 app, 1 main, 1 dessert restaurant. What was exciting is that we had our own personal tasting menu with many more dishes than a fixed one...but about the same price.

Lobster.

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  • 1 month later...

An unexpected trip to Craft on Saturday night left me satiated and smiling .

After catching a not-so-great Broadway show and it being only 5pm, on a whim my companion suggested we try to get into Craft, sans reservations. Pulling up to the restaurant, we were lucky enough to find street parking directly in front of the building; I sensed the fates might have been on our side that evening. The first ones in the place, we were told that if we could assure them that we would be out by 7:30, they'd have a table for us in ten minutes. We took a seat at the bar and I ordered a ginger martini. Delicious.

We were seated quickly in the leather and wood trimmed dining room. The look is contemporary clubby and the acoutics are terrific, with all that wood and leather. Though we were one of only a few tables seated along with a myriad of wait staff bustling about, the room had a quiet 'feel' to it that I attribute to the acoustics. Service was prompt and attentive. The bread basket contained a very good bread and the last time I tasted such sweet butter, I was eating it in Paris. We ordered a selection of items to share, beginning with a beet salad. Three (there may have been more) types of beets ... if you're a beet fan, as I am, absolute perfection.

The entrees ordered included a lamb bacon special, the Kobe beef, sugar snap peas (another of my favorites), fiddlehead ferns, and crawfish risotto. The Kobe beef, served in a copper skillet, was tender and perfectly sauced. The lamb bacon was good, but a bit salty, as it was a bacon. The biggest problem with this dish was the quantity. For such a rich dish, there was just too much. For the two of us, 2-3 slices would have been perfect. Overall, there were probably 20 slices on the plate. Ended up taking much of it home.

I had never tried (or had even seen) fiddlehead ferns before. Odd looking little veggies. Tried one and it was yummy, prepared with a little oil and garlic. The sugar snap peas were perfect in their simplicity. Our starch, the crawfish risotto, was spot on. Creamy and delicious with a spicy bite. Having each dish presented on its own serving plate allows one to assemble, sample and share, this interaction becoming almost as important as the food itself. Throughout, service was there when you needed them, invisible when you didn't.

Dessert was a lemon tart and my dining partner ordered the cheese plate. The presentation of the cheese was expertly done. The end of the table pulled out to reveal a drawer. The waiter balanced the large cheese board on this newly exposed edge and began to extoll the virtues of each cheese, where it came from, what animal it came from and what to expect from the taste. Two of the required three cheeses were selected and when the choice between two goats became difficult, our server kindly allowed us to have them both. Along with the cheese, there was bread and apples.

Overall, Craft fulfilled everything that I expected of it and more. The ingredients and prep were first-rate, the casual elegance of the room was comfortable and easy to relax/converse/share in and the service top-notch.

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