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Cru


Bond Girl
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bond girl do you think your review could be one sided at all considering your relationship to shea?

Not only is shea a bouley alum but his entire staff at one point in time worked at bouley. Id like to try it ive heard a few good things and a few bad things from friends. It sounds very interesting though. The menu has a bouleyness about it as well wich is a ood thing.

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Don't take my word for it, go try it yourself. I've never had Shea's food up till this point (never been to Bouley the second reincarnation though I do like the first one when David Bouley was actually in the kitchen) Then again, jogoode, my dining companion at Cru hasn't posted his opinion yet. So you guys will just have to bug him on what he thinks about the meal.

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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What's the deal with Cru's "front room"? Saw on the menu that they offered a selection of more reasonably priced entrees. Is that a more casual room or a no-reservation area? Cru's kinda pricey for me to afford right now, but the front room seemed interesting...

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  • 2 weeks later...

It’s getting harder to get a table. After an intriguing meal at Cru with Bond Girl I decided to get to know the place and set up a meeting with Shea Gallante, the chef and one of the three owners. I got there around 10:30 a.m., and the phone was ringing.

“I’m sorry, we are full this evening. Another night, perhaps?” says the reservationist. Then she held the phone away from her head and looked at it, confused. “That was odd,” she says. “I told a woman that there were no tables available tonight, and she said, ‘My son lives nearby and has already been there three times. Now I’ll see that he doesn’t come back.’”

Frustrated diners aside, between Gallante’s ambitious cooking and fanfare about the wine list, people want to eat at Cru. Though Cru has been open for a little more than a month, it has only been letting the dining room fill to capacity for a few weeks. The small dining room – about 17 tables – and the bar area have been full almost every night since, with people ordering three or four courses at the bar, and customers with 9:30 reservations, like Bond Girl and I, still eating at 1:00 a.m.

Because Cru opened during the Time Warner Epoch, Gallante has heard it compared to Per Se and yet-to-open Café Gray. But Gallante has a clear idea of Cru’s place among them. “I’m not some uberchef; I feel like I’m just a 31-year-old cook who’s opening a restaurant,” he says. Gallante’s first culinary job was at a Poughkeepsie pizzeria, but after graduating from the CIA he graduated to more elaborate Italian cooking, first at Pino Luongo’s Coco Opera and then at three-star Felidia. After about two years at the latter, Gallante went to Bouley and shot up the kitchen ladder to become chef de cuisine. At Cru, for the first time, Gallante is running a kitchen while serving his own food, and the results so far are impressive. But despite his ambitions and his skill, it is inappropriate to compare him with chefs who have run their own kitchens for years.

Gallante owns Cru along with its wine director, Robert Bohr, and Roy Welland, who used to be an owner of Washington Park, in whose space Cru now resides. Only the stove is left from Wash Park’s kitchen; everything else was designed and built for Gallante. Some of the gadgets in the kitchen – a Hold-O-Mat, made by Hugentobler, a German company, and not available to purchase in the US, which Gallante uses to cook lobster – might suggest that Gallante is focused on innovation or bent on showiness. But he says that he's most interested in consistency and precision. He doesn't cook veal sous-vide so he can flaunt the technique on his menu, he says, but because it ensures that the veal is cooked exactly the way he wants it, every time.

He leads seven cooks in the kitchen, including his two sous-chefs. Many among the kitchen staff have already worked under Gallante, either at Felidia or Bouley. His “pasta guy” made pasta for 14 years at Felidia. Everything at Cru is made in house, except for the bread (which will change once Cru is completely on its feet). I watched one of the sous-chefs cube rabbit and pork belly, and grind it for Cru’s cotechino.

The restaurant is still evolving. To Gallante, the dining room still feels new, like he’s “moving in to a new house.” Three items on the menu will change in the coming weeks. Gallante is taking his heirloom tomato salad off the menu, as tomatoes fade with the approach of fall. His foie gras with spring onion ice cream will also be adjusted. Foie is now served roasted on quince puree with yogurt, almond and black truffle ice cream, which he and Goldfarb are collaborating on and, as of last Friday, still tweaking. Gallante says that yogurt and truffle is a classic combination that he learned to love at Bouley. I tasted the ice cream without the addition of truffle -- if Goldfarb serves ice cream of that texture and concentration of flavor for dessert, I’ll be at Cru every night. They were working to make sure that the ice cream wouldn’t be too rich. If it is, Gallante says, it’ll be like serving foie gras with a butter sauce. On the plate with the liver will be a playful touch: roasted quince with a foie gras emulsion sauce. The sous vide veal will be replaced by roasted venison (Gallante admits to being obsessed with balancing his menu; for example, offering four seafood dishes and four meat dishes as mains) with a prune glaze served with wild rice and baby beets stewed with black truffle. Though he’d love to change his entire menu with the change of the season, he knows he has to find a balance – he expects he’ll soon be reviewed and changing his entire menu at this point would be suicide.

Since Bohr wasn’t there when I visited, Gallante showed me the wine cellars, after warning me that his talking about Bohr’s wine would be like Bohr’s talking about Gallante’s food – neither is entirely reliable. He also warned me not to expect an elegant cellar, like, say, those honeycombed shelves at La Pergola, in Rome. (This is New York, he says, and space is tight.) There are three “cellars,” modest, temperature controlled rooms of sturdy racks that hold some of the restaurant’s 65,000 bottles. Many are, of course, stored offsite – or else the cellar would have to be as big as the dining room -- and there are regular deliveries that allow Cru’s pairings and wines by the glass to rotate. Before Washington Park opened, Welland, a private client of Bohr, asked Bohr to build a wine collection that would serve as the foundation for Washington Park’s wine program. Cru’s wine program is Welland’s expanded collection with around 25,000 new bottles purchased specifically for Cru. The list is especially deep in Burgundy, but Bohr has also amassed a singular collection of German and Austrian wines, some of which are not offered by any other restaurant in the country. In the first cellar I saw, which was mostly red Burgundy, Gallante guessed there were 13,000 bottles. We pulled bottles off the shelves more or less at random: Chateauneuf du Pape 1962, 1970 Musigny, 1969 Echezeaux, 1964 Richebourg, 1976 Clos St. Denis, all from great winemakers. And if you download the wine list you’ll see that those bottles are just saplings in a forest of redwoods. Cru’s 3,500-bottle wine list comes to customers as two books, one about white and one about red. There are at least fifty wines by the glass, and many if not all are available in full and half glasses. (As a lightweight drinker I’m very happy about this.)

Since it opened, Gallante has been getting to Cru at 8 or 9 a.m. every day but Sunday, and leaving around 1 a.m. His kitchen staff works similar hours. Just wait until they start serving lunch.

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The Red Cellar

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The White Cellar

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The Kitchen: It looks bigger than it is – note in the foreground the dead space Cru inherited.

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Gallante at work in the downstairs kitchen. You open a restaurant and all you want to do is cook, but you spend much of your time on the phone, or talking to twits like me.

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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What's the deal with Cru's "front room"?  Saw on the menu that they offered a selection of more reasonably priced entrees.  Is that a more casual room or a no-reservation area?  Cru's kinda pricey for me to afford right now, but the front room seemed interesting...

I'm not sure if the bar takes reservations, but you can certainly sit in the front room and order a glass of wine, some crudo, and a pasta. The restaurant is more casual than it looks, and more casual than its clientele might lead you to believe. Despite the suits you see on customers, the amazing wine list and the menu pricing, you don't need a jacket or a tie or even a button-down.

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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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's an interesting event going on at Cru:

From Bullfrog and Baum's press release:

October 14, 2004 (New York, NY) - Executive Pastry Chef William Goldfarb of CRU (24 Fifth Ave. 212-529-1700), is changing the way people look at the end of their meal with the city's most interactive dessert...

Interactive: St. Barth's May 2001 - Liquid Lunch with Sand, Sun and Ocean and for $9, you too can escape the autumn chill and head to the beach!

Served in a pail accompanied by a thick, thirsty beach towel (with the elegant decor as a backdrop), Goldfarb challenges his guests' senses to sheer delight.

Taste the ocean in a silver spray canister of salt water. Touch and feel the coarse, sandy beach in a vile of baked and crumbled short bread, Smell the sun in an infusion of shockingly yellow peach water and saffron, and indulge in Goldfarb's culinary memories of his typical St. Barth's lunches, interpreted here as only he can do:

" Vanilla ice cream with brown sugar and Epoisses cheese granite

" Pastry cream mousseline infused with prosciutto rind

" Emulsion of apricot jam

" Bread crumbs of white brioche and dark brioche

" Grapefruit juice and white beer gele

I can't tell whether there are different options or if all this is included in one dessert. Maybe I'm just woozy from the presence of a Epoisses granite.

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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A diner trying to graze rather than gorge could simply skip the fourth course, the entrees, a strategy that would also lower what can be a steep final bill. Then again, that diner would miss Cru's sublimely succulent lobster, slow-poached in butter and olive oil. That diner would also miss Cru's equally succulent veal, poached sous vide. The black truffle and anchovy mayonnaise with which it is served has a richness and kick that turn out to be precisely the spark the veal needs.
If your curiosity is greater than your appetite, you can drop in for special wine-food pairings in a front room devoted to more casual sipping and supping. Cru accommodates a range of impulses and does so much so well that it can be forgiven its end-of-meal errors, overbright lighting and too-brown, too-dull color scheme.

Cru (Frank Bruni)

Soba

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Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post weighs in with a 2 1/2 star review titled Cru Has a Clue. Like Bruni, Cuozzo is headed for three stars till poor Will Goldfarb's desserts spoil the party:

Even with bloopers, Cru deserves three stars — that is, until Will Goldfarb's smart-alecky, flavor-conflicted desserts ($9).

A trifle of caramel, lemon bread and gelee of Jurancon (an obscure French wine) collapsed into a muck. Beware the "Spontaneous," a sorry mush of foam, cream, sorbet and berries.

"If we hate the desserts, we don't go back," my guest said, "even if we like a place." Exactly. Why does Cru blow good memories with "Liquid Lunch with Sand, Sun and Ocean"?

We passed on it each time. And when you learn what it is — a formula combining prosciutto ice cream, Epoisse cheese and grapefruit-juice jelly — you will, too.

This can't be a happy day in the Goldfarb household.

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Goldfarb actually has a history of challenging diners: Atlas (with Paul Liebrandt), Aquavit (very briefly), and Papillon (with Liebrandt again). I believe it was at Papillon where they held the infamous Surrealist dinners that included eating courses off someone's body. If people at Cru did'nt know what they were getting when they hired Goldfarb, then they didn't read his resume.

Edited by schaem (log)
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Even with bloopers, Cru deserves three stars — that is, until Will Goldfarb's smart-alecky, flavor-conflicted desserts ($9).

A trifle of caramel, lemon bread and gelee of Jurancon (an obscure French wine) collapsed into a muck. Beware the "Spontaneous," a sorry mush of foam, cream, sorbet and berries.

This review is a bit misleading about the "Spontaneous" dessert -- it changes daily, and often within a single evening. I dined at Cru last week (and loved it, although yes, I did find the desserts mildly disappointing too). I ordered the Spontaneous, and received a butternut squash cake with chocolate syrup and vanilla and pistachio ice creams. It wasn't my taste, but it was far from a "sorry mush" of anything.

Frankly, I applaud a pastry chef who pushes the envelope on desserts.

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The oenophile buried his nose in a dish of soft, crispy-edged skate wing (flavored with pine-nut flour and saffron), and before long, wine ceased to be the main topic of conversation at our table and people were talking about the food.

This is thanks to Gallante, who was chef de cuisine at Bouley. If there’s a criticism to make about his cooking at Cru, it’s that it’s too Bouley-centric, which, in the end, isn’t much of a criticism at all. Like his mentor, Gallante molds his ingredients in delicate, aggressively precious ways, building flavors on the plate with a kind of painterly precision.

Adam Platt reviews Cru for New York Magazine.

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I have been in the bar twice. Only once did we eat any food (we were there for the wine.) The bar did not take reservations at that point, but after the review, who knows.

As there are few restaurants that have high-quality wines by the glass, a friend and I went to Cru just to taste wine. Among the offerings we tried were the 88 Clape Cornas and 90 Rayas Pignan, as well as some lesser wines. Granted the prices for these were a little high, but certainly cheaper than buying a bottle. Hopefully, the wines by the glass selections will be expanded, or at least rotated to include more high-end offerings.

"If the divine creator has taken pains to give us delicious and exquisite things to eat, the least we can do is prepare them well and serve them with ceremony."

~ Fernand Point

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Frankly, I applaud a pastry chef who pushes the envelope on desserts.

I agree to an extent: Pushing the envelope is great, if and when it works. But not having tried any desserts at Cru, I wouldn't offer an opinion on whether these desserts work or don't.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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The New York magazine review was pretty kind to Will's desserts.

I agree with an above statement, that Chef Goldfarbs rep precedes him, as far as his unusual flavor profiles, etc. are concerned.

I thought Gallantes food was going to be more of that kind of vibe. From what I've heard and read, it all sounds terrific, though.

If you check out the menu pdf. online, I think there are some desserts on Goldfarbs menu that wouldn't be like walking the plank for those that have issues.

Hang in there, Will!

2317/5000

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went to Prune last night for dinner, but was stuck with the table closest to the kitchen, next to the bussing trays and the bathroom. I'm a big fan of Prune, especially for brunch, but wasn't feeling it last night (Prune might be the only French Bistro in town that should turn Down their dining room lights), so I skipped out after excellent plates of Anchovies with lemon, celery and Brazil nuts and country pate served between thick slices of bread patted with mustard.

Headed over to Cru at 9:30 and was seated in the main dining room by 9:45.

The food was great. All the same Amuse tastings Bond Girl described were trotted out. Cru seemed to me fairly generous with its Amuse offerings - about 8 items per person, including dessert. Is this higher than average in a 3 star NY restaurant?

Tried the Arctic Char in Vanilla Oil which was basically fish candy. Maybe just a bit too sweet. Kinda overwhelmed the fish. Had little rabbit sausages served with lentils that tasted of anise. Had the excellent, buttery lobster.

Also, count me in the minority - I actually enjoyed dessert. Ordered the Spontaneous. I can't tell you what the hell it was, but it was foamy and kinda lemony sweet, with a light salty cheese cube.

I couldn't quite bankroll it last night, but they're offering an incredible looking White Truffle Tasting Menu right now. I forget the exact prices, but I believe there are $125, $175, and $225 dollar menus, probably 5, 7, and 9 courses respectively. Each course comes with fresh shaved white truffles. Everyone at the table has to order the tasting menu together. They said this menu would likely last through November.

Oh, my only criticism, and it's completely insubstantial: the "Cru" logo is terrible. It looks like a 6th grader's first dabblings on Microsoft Word and it makes the menu look silly.

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Oh, my only criticism, and it's completely insubstantial:  the "Cru" logo is terrible.  It looks like a 6th grader's first dabblings on Microsoft Word and it makes the menu look silly.

I had the same reaction to the logo. The space is so beautiful, and then you have this amateurish, ugly orange-and-brown disco-era logo on the menu and credit card holder. It's only mildly jarring, though.

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hmmm.... i didn't love the room as much. i though it was a bit dark and "ol' boys club." but at least it's not the same old minimalist aren't-we-cool decor. and although the automatic kitchen door is a bit over the top, i like it.

i went in august and the food was pretty good except for the polenta-olive oil soup with gummy burrata. all the pastas and crudo were outstanding. exceptional wine service.

desserts were a letdown. i was hoping for something as wonderful as the smoky tea with whipped cream (if i remember correctly, i'm sure there was more to it) at Papillon. time to go back to Cru. is Will Goldfarb still there? the reviewers were rather harsh

Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.

P.G. Wodehouse

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  • 2 months later...

I sat in the front with my sister a few months back and had the crudo tasting snack, or something. we then ordered dessert. eeeeeew. The sandy salty merangue thing was terrible, real south of cheese. what ever was placed infron of me was gross too. this is from memory, so sorry to be inarticulate but I used to go to W.P. in my pj's for dessert, it was fine.. I would not go down to cru for dessert if someone else was paying, and it was their birthday.

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Greetings to all

I appreciate all the concern for my well being

I am going to concentrate full time on raising my three month old daughter loulou.

I extend again an offer to all disappointed parties to return as my guest, and to forward any special requests via email through egullet.

I wish a happy holiday season to all, and hope that any negative thoughts re dessert at Cru will not prevent you from enjoying its wonderful cuisine.

Warmest regards,

Will Goldfarb

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