Opinions on craftsteak
a few observations:
1. i don't really like craft, but i like craftsteak
2. the sides at craftsteak are much better than at your average steakhouse, including luger's, keen's, primehouse
3. craftsteak does cook very reliably to order (i recently went with a group of twelve and all of our steaks were perfectly executed) and they are inevitably tender. depending on what cut you get, thought, meat may not be as flavorful as at other places.
4. i very, very much enjoyed my wagyu, there.
This is bound to be an unpopular opinion but I went to Craftsteak, reluctantly, last night for a special occasion dinner, and my companion and I were both THRILLED with our steaks. He had the 28-day aged, and I had the flatiron. I preferred mine, it was tender and melt in your mouth delicious, he preferred his. The service was great, and like the other crafts, there are lots of complimentary add ons (a chicken liver app, cookies and coffee cake for desert, warm buns all on the house). We ordered them medium and medium rare, and they were cooked rather exactly to our orders. We had a few sides--impeccably grilled asparagus, cocktail shrimp and some mediocre french fries that I'd never get again. Despite totally not looking forward to going I have to say I was happy and I would actually go back.
I was there last week, and was totally disappointed. Three of us shared three steaks, including the wagyu skirt steak, the NY strip and the corn-fed sirloin. All were cooked reasonably to order (medium rare), but all, including the wagyu, surprisingly, lacked any real, deep, beefy minerality. The skillet cornbread and oysters were top notch, but the steaks, sides and desserts were all disappointing. Not bad, mind you, but at these prices, Craftsteak cannot compare to the steakhouses among which it would like to think are its peers.
Just curious, did you order the American Wagyu or the Wagyu from Japan. That alone could make a big difference.
Another thing about wagyu beef was that they weren't dry aged like other beef, so yes, they probably didn't have the knock your face off dry aged beef taste. You enjoy more of the tenderness and the melt-in-your mouth texture. In other words, you enjoy how the beef marbling melt in your mouth with the beef meat interwined in between.
I think if you are a steak lover who wants your steak to be super beefy (particularly the beefness that comes from dry-aging) OR if you like to have a little chew (or texture) to the steak, then wagyu beef may not be for you (but you should still try it as a steaklover).
I think American Wagyu has its audience exactly because it strikes a median - it is tender but still reminds some texture, and it has enough beef taste for people who don't care about dry-aging. Me, I want it to be either be a piece of good old dry-aging steak or a steak that I don't even need to knife to cut because the Japanese Wagyu is so tender that it really just dissolves in your mouth.
That said, I generally think that the dry-aged steaks in Craftsteak to be great. You can probably get the same quality or even better other top-tiered steakhouses (and probably cheaper too). I am actually surprised to hear that you found their sides and desserts to be disappointing. I think their apps, sides and other offerings are precisely why they can differeniate themselves from other steakhouses because they are in general excellent.
Thanks, kobetobiko, for replying. Interesting analysis and you are probably right. My steak ideal in NY is the NY strip at Quality Meats, and that alone may disqualify me to many Chowhounders as a steak lover. Who knows? I like what I like.
As for the sides, I felt that the wild mushrooms were just OK and should have been superb for $22. The baby fennel was good, not great. I forgot that we did love the onion rings, which were admittedly superb.
As for the desserts, the cinnamon doughnuts were pedestrian, the banana chocolate dessert was tasty but not great and the mascarpone cheesecake already eludes memory other than I remember ordering it.
Maybe we ordered incorrectly. In any case, I think Tom Colicchio is guilty of too much time in front of the cameras and not enough time making sure that his restaurants maintain the quality his clients have come to expect.
Lugers by a mile in my opinion. Went last weekend and had a great meal served by a great friendly staff, but overall we were not particularly impressed by the steaks. Don't get me wrong they were good, but just not overly superb. I'll take a standard NYC steakhouse over CraftSteak every time now.
If you love Craft, and also want to have steak (at Craft prices- i.e. expensive) then you'll enjoy Craftsteak.
Check out pictures of a meal I had there @ http://egustibus.wordpress.com/2006/0...
If you want to go to the best steak at one of the best steakhouses in NYC, and don't mind going to Brooklyn- you should go to Peter Luger's.
craftsteak is more about Craft then about steak. Depends on what you are looking for.