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Jul 26, 2007 11:54 PM

Our Craft restaurant experience.

Today me and my gf had dinner at craft. I made the reservation on sunday through open table. The restaurant called a day beforehand to confirm the reservation and if i had any questions or anything like that. I asked them to move the reservation up half an hour and they gladly changed it. The restaurant itself is nice and looks like the other craft restaurants, very similar to craftsteak in las vegas. The decor was modern and very clean. They had a nice outdoor dining area with what looked like comfortable seating and lounge area. There are a lot of office buildings surrounding the restaurant, but good that its not too close to the mall. We started with the pork belly which other reviewers have said is very good, we ordered it and it was really good, nice and crispy and had a clean taste none of that lingering taste that pork sometimes has. They sent out an amuse bouche before the first course came i think anyways it was a crostini with salsa verde and sardine. I dont like sardines so i didnt try it. For our main courses we ordered halibut and rack of pork which were both excellent. For sides we ordered sweet corn,asparagus,a potatos al gratin. The sides were all good but on the small side. Before we ordered desert they sent out another amuse bouche which was some type of sorbet in a hibiscus soup, excellent. We had angel food cake with peach sorbet for desert. Again excellent desert, i did see the olive oil gelato on the menu, but decided against it (sounded weird). after finishing our desert the pastry chef sent out another small desert dish which was homemade marshmallow which had a lavendar scent and some choclate and nut brittle, again unexpected but very good. The service part of the meal was overall pretty good. They work in teams so we had two servers and two busboys bringing us our food and other things. The manager came by twice to check up on our meal and lastly to thank us before we left the restaurant. They did do some things which i dont see often in restaurants. They fold up your napkin for you if you leave the table so when you return it is neatly folded and they push your chair in. The food overall was very good especially since the restaurant is new, but the portions are on the smaller side of things and the prices a bit on the high side. We both agree though that the food was very good and they did send out three amuse bouches, so at least the price hit wasnt too bad. We will more then likely return. In the end for two first courses, two main courses, three sides, one desert, two non alcoholic drinks, one alcoholic drink the total was around 170 before tip, with tip around 200 dollars. ANd one last thing i saw sheriff lee baca coming in when we were leaving.

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  1. One thing I forgot to mention about my trip to Craft was that I tried to hide a not-obviously dirty spoon among the clean silverware when they bussed our first course away. At first it just sat there next to the silverware, and it was certainly fine. I mean, I ate from it already, I'd eat off that spoon again.

    But before the next volley of dishes came, someone had spotted it, excused themselves, picked it up and changed it out.

    Craft is doing themselves tremendous favors with the level of detail that their staff possesses.

    It sounds like you had a lovely time; I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    1. I ate there last night too. Sounds like you had a better experience than I did (and was that really Steve Bing with Lee Baca?). I loved the octopus appetizer and one of our side dishes--the braised morels--was spectacular. Both were terrific. After that things were kind of ho-hum. The calamari was slightly sweet in a weird way. the pork terrine with watermelon pickle was a little overbalanced toward sweet. the lamb's tongue with wild blueberries was ... sweet. we ordered the lamb for two ($95 or thereabouts) and it was a big disappointment. the kidneys were so overcooked they had nothing kidney-ish about them. the rest was dried out. the sommelier came through with a great wine recommendation (we asked for a red in the under-$80 category, surprisingly hard to find on their list; he chose the Thackery Pleides, which was very good). on the whole, though, the service was eager to please but not terribly informed. When we asked a couple of questions about dishes, we usually got the deer-in-the-headlight treatment followed by a reptition of what was on the menu (you have to ask: the way the menu is set up, a description might be Mushrooms: Braised: Morels; would lhave been nice to know they were braised with cream and ramps). I do like boquerones and so the anchovy amuse was appreciated, and so was the dessert amuse. nice touches, but they've got a ways to go to justify the price (two of us eating a lot, with one bottle and two glasses of wine came to just over $300 before tip).

      3 Replies
      1. re: FED

        I was going to expand a bit on the menu, but yes you're right all the dishes are listed but without much description. i had to ask our server about a few of the dishes and she did describe them, though im sure if i really asked in great detail im not too sure if they would know right away. having a better description on the menu would probably help things. IF we had a bottle of wine with dinner im sure i would have spent around 300 also. I dont know that guy who was with lee baca is he famous or something? i saw the two of them walking in the restaurant.

        1. re: AGENT FOODIE

          The first time we went to Craftsteak in Las Vegas we had a similar problem with the menu - not much information and not-very-helpful server, resulting in a frustrating, expensive meal. It put me off Craftsteak for a good 2-3 years, but we eventually did try it again a few months ago and had a much better experience in all respects. Since we're going to Craft next Thursday, I really hope we get a knowledgeable server who is forthcoming with details about the dishes, because the way the menu is written doesn't nearly suffice for this somewhat picky eater.

        2. re: FED

          Totally concur about the Lamb being a big disappointment!

        3. Glad you enjoyed your meal there! My girlfriend and I had a fantastic experience there as well. Everyone keeps mentioning the service there, and with good reason ... it's probably one of the best I've had in LA.

          When I first went to Sona (this was less than a year after they opened), service was similar (team-based, detail-oriented) but it was way more rigid and a bit stuffy. Not that I mind that necessarily, but Craft's service was much more easy-going, although you could tell the newness of some of the staff members ... ;)

          1. I have to give Craft an A for effort. So, maybe the food is on the blah side and maybe the prices are too high, and maybe the phones lines aren't as busy as OsMo. But, Craft is a unique experience in LA. I think, after a few weeks, they will find their way.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

              certainly not trying to be argumentative ... everyone has their own take, but i'm curious about what you find about craft that is unique? i'd like to understand.

              1. re: FED

                The building for one. Beautiful, clean inside and out. Walls of windows looking out onto rolling grass and the modern CAA deathstar building.

                Nice outside lounges where you can just take a break or have a cigarette. There must be 3 or 4 of them. When we were out there between courses, a server took yet another drink order. Nice touch.

                The service - the team assigned to us was outstanding. I can't think of a restaurant that can equal this gracious, accomodating, eager staff without being so imposing. Sure, maybe Le Bec Fin in Philly, but talk about snotty. I find the service at Craft better than at Spago.

                1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica

                  it sure is a great-looking room. there's no doubt about that. i had a different reaction to the service, but that could have just been my table. one visit never tells the whole story.

                  1. re: FED

                    i think some of the differences in service might have been depending on how busy they were and also who was part of your "team" serving you. We ate at craftsteak earlier this month in las vegas and the service was good just like craft here in centruy city, but at both locations the team serving us had one person who was much better and friendlier which made it seem a bit inconsistent. Also, when we had dinner at craft the service was really good when we started out meal since the restaurant was half empty and a lot of people were standing around. When we finished the meal i had to track down a server for our check since the restaurant was completely full including the bar and outside patio. The people working were running around by then trying to keep order. I really like the design just like what frank santa monica said.