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Craftsteak


oakapple
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Admin: Threads merged.

Hey all,

Some college friends and I are going to craftsteak for dinner tonight. very masculine for a bunch of boys who went to Vassar.

I just thought I'd check in to see if anyone who's been has any knowledge of hidden treasures or landmines on the menu.

thanks much, and i'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow.

-Andrew

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  • 4 weeks later...
The revamped Craftsteak menu looks quite appealing -- especially the prixe fixe menu for $68 (the same items ala carte are about $95).

Colliccio certainly gets full marks for trying to fix the problem. In the end, it comes down to "Can he broil a steak?" Except for the negative answer to that question, I absolutely loved everything else about craftsteak the two times I was there. But incompetence at preparing steaks is a pretty significant drawback, when "steak" is in the name of the restaurant.

Cuozzo likes it in this week's Post, but I've given up on trusting Cuozzo.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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have you tried it since the new oven and chef?

I tried it again the first time Cuozzo said that they'd fixed their problems. He was wrong. At that point, the original chef was still in place. I will go back again, when I get around to it, but I'm not rushing over there.
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  • 7 months later...

I've been very critical of Craftsteak since it opened. As I live closeby, it could be my 'go to' steakhouse, but my dinners up until tonight have been at best, mediocre and at worst, downright poor. The last time I was there, the FOH problems were many ("Sir, your waiter did not come over because the staff member you asked to get him doesn't speak english") and the BOH problems fatal (steak sent back 3 times for being a tepid temperature). But tonight, the restaurant we went to was entirely a different restaurant--read, a different experience. The only flaw was the reservationist answering the phone--said she didn't know "Jason" (service manager) and had no idea if the GM (Richard) was still there. Her tone was off-putting and slightly arrogant. I commented to my partner at home before we went, "I'm getting a bad vibe; let's not go." But, we do live nearby, and were in the mood for a nice steak dinner with relaxed service and atmosphere, so we took a chance and trudged over there. We were very very glad we did.

When we arrived, we spotted Jason Nunan--service manager who used to be a manager at Eleven Madison. Jason greeted us and we sat, as is our preference, in the bar area at a window. Immediate tone changed--Jason was on top of things. The wait staff attentive but not intrusive. Justin Spencer, the sommelier, was terrific. He's young, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. Working on his MW, he is quite versed in wine issues and knows the list front and back. We asked for an old world style red to go with the steaks that would not break the bank--not at the mid $300 price point of many of the Bordeaux on the list. Justin soon brought over a decanter and let us taste the wine blind. The wine was tight but I thought "warm climate" and merlot and tempranillo. Turned out he brought us a 2003 Miserere from the Priorat. Beautiful wine, and at $110, one of the lesser priced wines on the list and after some air, it evolved into a lovely wine. Nice structure, beautiful perfume on the nose, and paired lovely with the steaks.

I started with an array of oysters--I asked the chef at the station to select the best for me, and he did. Lovely. I then had the 56 day, dry aged NY Strip from Niman Ranch. Cooked properly to medium rare as I had ordered, the steak was flavorful and tender. The roasted hen of the woods mushroom was great and properly roasted. My partner had the 18 ounce corn fed Ribeye--flavourful and even more tender than my Strip. He had the potatoes gratin, and they were quite properly cooked. Everything was to order and exceptionally well prepared.

Assuming this dinner was not "the outlier" then Craftsteak in NY has really grown and transformed. Apparently they have had a total change of staff--FOH and BOH, and it has, without a doubt, been for the better and been effective.

Tom C now has a winner on his hands. Just get a new reservationist--she is steering people away with her 'tude.

At the end of the meal, Justin came over and offered us complimentary glasses of PX. Nice way to end a night!

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  • 3 months later...

We had a lovely meal there the other night with some fantastic wines. Wine notes can be found HERE.

The food was excellent, I must say, and not over-salted or over-cooked either. We started with a variety of oysters, of which the Kumamotos were just fantastic, and some Jamon Iberico. While the Jamon was delicious, I am not sure if it was the Spanish Jamon or some American version. In any case, it was quite good.

Next came our main courses, all of which were steaks. My rib-eye was cooked just right (very, very rare, almost black and blue). The sides were, to put it mildly, fantastic: mashed potatoes were creamy yet not too heavy, and potato gratin was cheesily good. The two types of mushrooms were earthy and hearty, perfect foils for some of our wines.

At this point we were stuffed and opted out of dessert or cheeses.

Service was top-notch, professional and warm, the staff went out of their way to make us feel welcome. They could not have been more gracious considering we had brought our own wines. I should also mention we decided to sit in the lounge, where it was quieter and less hectic than in the main room.

Cheers! :cool:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ate at Craftsteak with four buddies and our wives last night, and all were disappointed to the point, really of anger. The place charges extremely steep prices and the payoff, in our experience was nowhere near expectations.

A $120 "grand" seafood tasting contained nowhere near a suitable amount of food for the price -- six shrimp, three crab claws, a small dish of octopus salad, half a lobster chick filled with salad and, I believe, six oysters and six clams (it may actually have been fewer). Expecting something truly grand along the lines of a tower, I was stunned.

My grass-fed ribeye, at $55 for 14 oz., was no more than one inch thick and served sliced and off the bone. It tasted of nothing so much as the ridiculous amount of salt that had been applied to it in the kitchen -- so much that it actually seemed to have a crust. Further, the steaks are served in heated cast iron dishes, with predictable results; my steak, ordered medium rare, was so thin that it continued cooking to medium before my eyes.

Others at the table had the hangar steak, the NY strip (both grass and corn fed versions), filet mignon, and a corn-fed ribeye. With the one exception of the corn-fed NY strip, all of us felt as I did. Extremely underwhelmed by the steaks and overpowered by the saltiness of the food.

Sides included spinach gratin, brussels sprouts and bacon, jerusalem artichokes, onion rings and french fries. The onion rings and fries were quite good if, again, overly salted. The brussels sprouts were overcooked to the point of mushiness. Spinach was good but served in very small portions; the artichokes were utterly forgettable.

Service was a major problem. Our waiter was nowhere to be found for the vast majority of the meal. I had to ask a busboy to summon a manager so we might place our wine order, after which our waiter -- not the manager I ordered from -- told me they could not find the first bottle we ordered and recommended another. After we sampled a bottle of that and found it agreeable, I asked for two more to be brought to the table -- we were, after all, eight people. After another few moments, I was told that there was only one other bottle of the wine he had recommended to us -- a large group -- in the house. We took it, but why would the waiter recommend it to a large group if they knew they didn't have more than 2 bottles, and I had specifically told him when seeking a recommendation that I wanted a reasonably priced wine (few and far between on Craftsteak's list) we could drink several bottles of?

Our plates sat in front of us for nearly 10 minutes after we were finished with our entrees. Despite an incredibly large number of servers/busboys in the dining room, I had to ask our waiter -- when I saw him -- to have our table cleared.

A busboy was sent to our table to take our dessert order. We ordered all six flavors of ice cream and a plate of cookies, along with coffee. He got the order wrong, and we received three flavors of ice cream and three of sorbet. Our coffee service arrived five minutes after our desserts.

I flagged the waiter, who had once again appeared, to correct the dessert order and to let him know about the things I've written above; his response was that he was "sorry we were disappointed." Indeed.

Tagged with an automatic gratuity for a large party, we were left without any way to express our dissatisfaction with both food and service other than the comment card that came with the check. Yes, I could have spoken with a manager, but it was late and everyone had to leave to get home to their kids/sitters; goodbyes to good friends took precedence.

All in all, I believe the prices that Craftsteak is charging are, in light of the mediocre food and lackluster service, outrageous. I actually feel like I got suckered. To be clear, I eat out often and high prices don't scare me. As long as there is value, I have no problem with a heavy check. At roughly $130 a head, though, Craftsteak -- for at least the eight of us -- felt like robbery.

Next time we're looking for steaks, we'll head back to Williamsburg. Or to Strip House or any of the other myriad places in Manhattan that are in my estimation turning out much better product at the same price points or ones that are even lower.

Edited by JohnnyH (log)

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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Ate at Craftsteak with four buddies and our wives last night, and all were disappointed to the point, really of anger. The place charges extremely steep prices and the payoff, in our experience was nowhere near expectations.

A $120 "grand" seafood tasting contained nowhere near a suitable amount of food for the price -- six shrimp, three crab claws, a small dish of octopus salad, half a lobster chick filled with salad and, I believe, six oysters and six clams (it may actually have been fewer). Expecting something truly grand along the lines of a tower, I was stunned.

My grass-fed ribeye, at $55 for 14 oz., was no more than one inch thick and served sliced and off the bone. It tasted of nothing so much as the ridiculous amount of salt that had been applied to it in the kitchen -- so much that it actually seemed to have a crust. Further, the steaks are served in heated cast iron dishes, with predictable results; my steak, ordered medium rare, was so thin that it continued cooking to medium before my eyes.

Others at the table had the hangar steak, the NY strip (both grass and corn fed versions), filet mignon, and a corn-fed ribeye. With the one exception of the corn-fed NY strip, all of us felt as I did. Extremely underwhelmed by the steaks and overpowered by the saltiness of the food.

Sides included spinach gratin, brussels sprouts and bacon, jerusalem artichokes, onion rings and french fries. The onion rings and fries were quite good if, again, overly salted. The brussels sprouts were overcooked to the point of mushiness. Spinach was good but served in very small portions; the artichokes were utterly forgettable.

Service was a major problem. Our waiter was nowhere to be found for the vast majority of the meal. I had to ask a busboy to summon a manager so we might place our wine order, after which our waiter -- not the manager I ordered from -- told me they could not find the first bottle we ordered and recommended another. After we sampled a bottle of that and found it agreeable, I asked for two more to be brought to the table -- we were, after all, eight people. After another few moments, I was told that there was only one other bottle of the wine he had recommended to us -- a large group -- in the house. We took it, but why would the waiter recommend it to a large group if they knew they didn't have more than 2 bottles, and I had specifically told him when seeking a recommendation that I wanted a reasonably priced wine (few and far between on Craftsteak's list) we could drink several bottles of?

Our plates sat in front of us for nearly 10 minutes after we were finished with our entrees. Despite an incredibly large number of servers/busboys in the dining room, I had to ask our waiter -- when I saw him -- to have our table cleared.

A busboy was sent to our table to take our dessert order. We ordered all six flavors of ice cream and a plate of cookies, along with coffee. He got the order wrong, and we received three flavors of ice cream and three of sorbet. Our coffee service arrived five minutes after our desserts.

I flagged the waiter, who had once again appeared, to correct the dessert order and to let him know about the things I've written above; his response was that he was "sorry we were disappointed."  Indeed.

Tagged with an automatic gratuity for a large party, we were left without any way to express our dissatisfaction with both food and service other than the comment card that came with the check. Yes, I could have spoken with a manager, but it was late and everyone had to leave to get home to their kids/sitters; goodbyes to good friends took precedence.

All in all, I believe the prices that Craftsteak is charging are, in light of the mediocre food and lackluster service, outrageous. I actually feel like I got suckered. To be clear, I eat out often and high prices don't scare me. As long as there is value, I have no problem with a heavy check. At roughly $130 a head, though, Craftsteak -- for at least the eight of us -- felt like robbery. 

Next time we're looking for steaks, we'll head back to Williamsburg. Or to Strip House or any of the other myriad places in Manhattan that are in my estimation turning out much better product at the same price points or ones that are even lower.

That sounds pretty awful...

At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. ‐ Salvador Dali

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I think what bothered me most was the completely un-subtle way the entire operation felt geared to suck as much money out of you as possible. Clearly that's the case regardless of where one dines; in my experience, though, one seldom feels quite as "taken" as we all did on Saturday. I've really never eaten anywhere -- anywhere -- where I felt such an incredible disparity between the prices charged and the quality delivered.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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I think what bothered me most was the completely un-subtle way the entire operation felt geared to suck as much money out of you as possible.

That, I must say, is the Craft premise. When it works, you don't mind spending all that money, because it's so mind-blowingly good. But when it fails (as it clearly did here) you're still left with that astronomical bill.

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I think what bothered me most was the completely un-subtle way the entire operation felt geared to suck as much money out of you as possible.

That, I must say, is the Craft premise. When it works, you don't mind spending all that money, because it's so mind-blowingly good. But when it fails (as it clearly did here) you're still left with that astronomical bill.

True enough. Service issues aside, though, it's hard for me to imagine what about the meal we were served that had even the potential to be "mind-blowingly good." The steaks in particular did not seem to have it in them.

"All humans are out of their f*cking minds -- every single one of them."

-- Albert Ellis

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They have an issue with too much salt. I was there Saturday night and the onion rings were so salty we could not finish them. When we left, Shane--the chef--was at the bar and I mentioned it to him. My sense is that on the whole, the food has improved since Shane has arrived but they still have that problem with the salt.

I've had very good experiences with the wine staff--they are quite good IMHO. You should phone or jot a note to the GM.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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They have an issue with too much salt. I was there Saturday night and the onion rings were so salty we could not finish them.  When we left, Shane--the chef--was at the bar and I mentioned it to him.  My sense is that on the whole, the food has improved since Shane has arrived but they still have that problem with the salt.

I've had very good experiences with the wine staff--they are quite good IMHO.  You should phone or jot a note to the GM.

Unlike others, I happen to love this restaurant thought its been uneven as of late.

Craftsteak has actually been one of our favorite sleeper places in the city. Yes it is expensive, far more than a prix fixe at some of the best restaurants, but it has often been at that same level or higher. The a la carte style is what gets you in terms of cost.

However, I love how unpretentious it is compared to other places in this price range and how open the space is.

Their raw bar has always been great. It's a lot like Craft (obviously) but def not the same dining experience.

I agree wholeheartedly on the saltiness issue. That has been a more recent problem in my experience, as has the uneven quality overall.

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I returned last night to a near perfect dinner. The restaurant was only about 1/2 to 2/3 full, and the front of the house was running quite smoothly. Food was spot on. Onion rings were really tasty; none of that extra-saltiness I had experienced my last visit. My steak was cooked just as I had ordered it (medium rare) and the sides great. When its on, its great. Agree its a sleeper amongst the Manhattan crowd.

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I returned last night to a near perfect dinner. The restaurant was only about 1/2 to 2/3 full, and the front of the house was running quite smoothly.  Food was spot on. Onion rings were really tasty; none of that extra-saltiness I had experienced my last visit.  My steak was cooked just as I had ordered it (medium rare) and the sides great.  When its on, its great.  Agree its a sleeper amongst the Manhattan crowd.

I have had bad experiences with the Onion rings...they tend to be the greasy style, vs. crunch with texture when I have had them.

Their recent roasted foie dish is one of my favorites of all time. Roasted with maple syrup, golden raisins, and mustard seeds. It's unbelievable.

Also love Hamachi appetizers, steak carpaccio. For sides, the Jerusalem artichokes, butter braised anything (morels if they have them), gratins, grits, etc. etc.

For steaks I prefer the grass fed flavor when they have it. I have also done the wagyu (fillet, strip) and it was really great though obviously pricey.

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  • 2 months later...

A vendor took my team out to dinner at Craftsteak last night and it ended up being one of the best meals I've had in NYC. Hadn't been in about a year and a half and there have been massive improvements in the steak preparation.

Service was excellent and pacing was perfect for a large party.

Our table shared the Grand Seafood Tasting and it was delicious. Hadn't had oysters that tasted exactly like the ocean in a while. Really transporting. The raw bar at Craftsteak has always been good but this was a step up.

I had the grassfed NY Strip medrare and it was cooked perfectly. As noted before not a serious char but definitely more than there used to be. Incredible flavor.

The rest of the party seemed happy with their short ribs, filet, and ribeye.

Sides were onion rings (enormous and perfectly cooked), ramps and pea risotto (my new favorite dish in NY besides the kimchee stew at Momofuku), french fries (very nice and crisp but ultimately just french fries), hen of the woods mushrooms (steak for non-steak eaters...wow), braised ramps (a little salty but still delicious).

Great cheese selection too.

All in all a great meal.

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