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Craft Bar


Wilfrid
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I'm not going to tell you the percentage of diners that visit a restaurant primarily for the food, because I'm not sure you can handle the truth!

Certainly Craft and Gramercy are more similar in sensibility that Spoon and ADNY. I didn't mean to say otherwise. I do however think they're different enough that it's not a question of just walking next door and getting the same food for less money. Wrapping monkfish in pancetta creates a totally new dish. It's not like saying, here you have monkfish and pancetta on two plates, and here you have the exact same two things on one plate, therefore the two-plates place sucks. Now, if you like the pancetta-wrapped monkfish better, you're lucky, because you can save money and enjoy yourself more. But that doesn't make it a meaningless permutation of the same ingredients.

But to back up for a moment, there's a difference between caring about concepts and not caring about food. Take service for example. Let's say you have two restaurants identical in all regards but one has better service and charges more money. If somebody goes to the more expensive one with better service, that doesn't mean the person doesn't care about food. It just means he values service as well. It's the same thing with Craft. Sure you can go to Gramercy Tavern and get monkfish wrapped in pancetta and plated with various predetermined vegetables. But to some people it's valuable to be able to have monkfish alone, with or without vegetables of their choice. Or just vegetables. Or whatever. And I don't think that's tantamount to not caring about the food -- it seems to me to reflect a direct concern with the food.

Craft is after all about food laid bare. It's more about food than any other restaurant I know of. Perhaps self-consciously so. Perhaps expensively so. Perhaps, to some, annoyingly so. But it's about food any way you slice it.

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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Craft is about the food.  But that is the concept of the place - the food.  It makes the concept inseperable from the food.  I just get the feeling that they are pretending to be something that they are not.  They claim to provide some groundbreaking method of serving and preparing your food.  When, in fact, they are preparing the food the way they prepare top quality food all over new york and serving it just like you could get if you asked at any restaurant in town.  When I work I can't tell you the number of people that want to mix and match their menu - veggies from here, starch from there.  What do we say?  Yes.  I just get this feeling that they feel like they are doing something that no one else is doing, and I would disagree.  

Perry

p.s. Ahh...How I wish we could discuss this over some braised short ribs and a Cotes du Rhone!

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Hey, I guess I'll ask again, as the topic is still twitching.

Where "all over New York" can you get food as good as Craft?  Below the 4 star level?

Because, as I have probably said many times, I too dislike the concept/mission/gimmicks.  Just think the food is better than an awful lot of places.

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 When I work I can't tell you the number of people that want to mix and match their menu - veggies from here, starch from there.  What do we say?  Yes.
Now that you mention it, it's really a natural. I'm surprised this concept hasn't arisen earlier. Dish from column "A." The sauces are ordred separately and served on the side. You want sauce with your dish, ya gotta ask for it. Is there a decent restaurant out there where every cook and waiter isn't convinced there's an army of people who want their sauce on the side?

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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"I'll have the beef with the Bordelaise. Sauce on the dish."

"I'll have to check with the chef."

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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  • 2 weeks later...

Been meaning to add this. A week past Sunday, popped into Craftbar for lunch. I’d recommend it for a bite on the run, but (as usual) I’ve got a couple of gripes.

First, we were asked what we’d like to drink. I said I’d like a beer. (This seemed a reasonable request (It is a bar, no?), but this seemed to take our waiter’s breath away.  “No, no…what kind of water do you want?”, he said (Water in a bar ?).  I replied tap water, and expected him to take my beer order, but no, off he went. At last, menus and wine list. I ordered a lovely Pilsner from (Casco Bay?) Maine.

My husband’s chicken soup was spectacular. Brownish translucent stock, large chicken meat-balls, vegetables and parsley. Then we both went for warm pressed sandwiches. I had prosciutto, arugula and parmesan, and husband had the prosciutto cotto with fontina. Mine was particularly flavorful, the arugala lending a spiceyness. However, these were on the small side (thin bread the texture of ciabatta), and in the middle, only  one slice of prosciutto. I’m no fan of mile high deli sandwiches, but these were meager sandwiches. But tasty nonetheless.

With two glasses of red (Pernand Rollins 96) check was $60 excluding tip.

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A review appearing in New York magazine can be found online here.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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  • 10 months later...

Had a friend from out of town who wanted to go to Craft, but can't get a reservation, so instead we ended up in Craft Bar, which claims to share the same kitchen and quality as Craft only less formal.

We ordered fried oysters, which was beautifully presented but had too much breading on it so you can't taste the oysters. The arugula salad was okay, but certainly nothing to write home about, and at over $10 a plate, you'd expected fresher arugulas. From there on, it was downhill all the way. My fish stew arrived at the table luke warm, and must have contained a whole bag of salt in it. The calamari were so overcooked that it resembled old rubber. The fish were dry, hard and flavorless, and the clams were almost indistinguishable in taste from the calamari. After this, we both had to order dessert to get the taste of burnt garlic out of our mouths. Well, the apple fritters came swimming in a pool of melted ice cream, and was soggy on the outside and rockhard and ice cold on the inside.

I vaguely remember seeing rave reviews about the place, and the place was jam packed on a Friday night. I personally think that for the price of $95 not including tip, a much better meal can be had elsewhere.

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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Oh, dear. I've been there a couple of times, and had much better luck. The vaunted "duck prosciutto and Tallegio" sandwich was worth all the praise. We had a dish of roasted vegetables that was done just right -- and included ramps (!). I forget what all else I've had there, but it was far better than you describe.

Sounds like you had a terribly off night. :shock:

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When I was there, the service seemed rushed and haphazard...

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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I don't think CB shares a kitchen with Craft; I was under the impression that the open kitchen in the back of the place was theirs alone.

Anyway, I've been the CB twice, and the two experiences could not have been more different.

The first time the place was slammed. Service was slow and haphazard; half the servers looked like they were just running around in circles trying not to bump into each other. We ordered a series of small dishes, which we wanted to come out in order. Instead, we ended up waiting almost an hour with nothing but breadsticks (good ones, at least) and then everything showed up en masse. The stuff we wanted for the first course was cold, leading me to believe that the kitchen got the message, but our server then forgot and just let it sit. Much of what we had was underwhelming; it just seemed like not enough care had gone into the preparation. Seasonings were off, and plating was haphazard.

The second time I went I was alone for a late, late lunch at around 4pm. There were only 3 other customers in the place. I had a nice conversation with the bartender, and watched the kitchen brigade calmly go about prepping for the evening service. A new extern was being shown the CB-approved way to take apart a savoy cabbage. The salumi was excellent. The sous chef came over and told me all about their supply chain and what is done in house and what is not. I also had some nice cheese, but I remember the selection being quite small, maybe just four or five options.

If I go again, it will definitely be at an off hour.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I loved the bruschetta with poached eggs and tomato. I also had a sandwich (I wish I could remember what was on it, some sort of salumi) that was excellent for about half the sandwich before seeming too salty. I've been there twice and enjoyed it, but wouldn't say it's great food. It's not priced like a top-tier restaurant, so I can't complain. I also can't compare it to Craft, never having been there.

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I have been to Craft twice (but never Craft Bar). Maybe there is something wrong with me but I find the place to be very average, especially for the price. Then again, I am not a fan of any Danny Meyer restaurant, having been to all of them but Tabla at least two or three times and given Tom C's relationship to Mr. Meyer maybe I shouldn't expect to like Craft.

Does anyone else agree? For the most part, it seems everyone on egullet loves Craft.

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Craft Bar is about as good a wine bar as you could find. They've really upgraded the list in the last couple of months, especially the rieslings and gruners, and the charcuterie and sandwiches are awesome. Stick to that stuff (although the roast cod is very good also) and drink well for relatively reasonable tariffs, and you'll do fine. Go there expecting to eat at Craft for a third of the dosh and you'll be disappointed.

Jake

Jake Parrott

Ledroit Brands, LLC

Bringing new and rare spirits to Washington DC.

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I think it's a bit of hybrid, in the sense that while there may be separate kitchens, a lot of the pre-made stuff on the menu, like the excellent charcuterie and salumi, are coming out of the Craft kitchen.

The menu is a little too short, I agree, but I've found the food okay.

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Biscotti, I don't think you are alone on the Meyer front.

I quite like Craftbar, though. I liked the fried oysters I shared with Blondie a while back--the breading wasn't overdone. The fish stew at CB seems variable, the salumi is very good as are the meatballs. I think CB has consistency in the same way that the Tavern at Gramercy has (unlike GT dining room proper). I think this has come up before--the merits of "tavern" spaces in restaurants, and maybe this is worth discussion in its own right. I like the bold flavors in CB.

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I have been to Craft twice (but never Craft Bar).  Maybe there is something wrong with me but I find the place to be very average, especially for the price.  Then again, I am not a fan of any Danny Meyer restaurant, having been to all of them but Tabla at least two or three times and given Tom C's relationship to Mr. Meyer maybe I shouldn't expect to like Craft.

Does anyone else agree?  For the most part, it seems everyone on egullet loves Craft.

Is Craft/CraftBar a Danny Meyer collaboration – I was under the impression it was Colicchio only deal

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I quite like Craftbar, though.  I liked the fried oysters I shared with Blondie a while back--the breading wasn't overdone.  The fish stew at CB seems variable, the salumi is very good as are the meatballs. 

I really enjoyed that meal. Yvonne's right, the breading didn't overwhelm the oysters, the salumi was very good, and the duck ham/talleggio/hen-of-the-woods panini was among the best I've ever had.

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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May be I went on a off-night. May be I should treat this as a wine bar, in which case I shouldn't be there because I can only consume a limited amount of alcohol befoe my allergy kicks in. I will give it another try and report back.

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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[is Craft/CraftBar a Danny Meyer collaboration – I was under the impression it was Colicchio only deal

I only meant that given their close association in other restaurants that I am not impressed with, I shouldn't have been surprised that I wasn't impressed with Craft.

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[is Craft/CraftBar a Danny Meyer collaboration – I was under the impression it was Colicchio only deal

I only meant that given their close association in other restaurants that I am not impressed with, I shouldn't have been surprised that I wasn't impressed with Craft.

I've usually enjoyed a positive restaurant experience when dining at any meyer/colicchio joint. A stylish and cozy atmosphere surrounding nice plates, good wine, and friendly service. All for a reasonable price

Where have you had great ny meals ?

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