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Craft: Is it worth it?

Woolsey Jul 30, 2007 07:49 PM

A friend of mine (and fellow Chowhound) is dying to go to Craft and wants me to go with her. She's a Top Chef fan, and, after reading the Eater LA interview, she wants to get there before Tom Colicchio leaves when the season ends. We're both finally making enough to where we can afford to go to a restaurant of Craft's level (read: price tag), but I have a long list of restaurants I've been wanting to visit for a long time. I have long lusted for meals at Providence, Spago, and La Cachette, and, were I left to my own crapulence, I could easily let a meal at Craft wait on the back burner until I've eaten at Osteria Mozza five or six dozen more times.

But I don't want to be myopic. Just as I don't want to drop $100+ on a meal because the chef is famous on TV (says the guy who loves Molto Mario's joint), I don't want to miss out on something really wonderful because I haven't made it through my unwritten to-do list. My friend and I have read the review posts, and she's still resolutely in favor of going, while I remain on the fence, especially after accidentally running across this thread:


The line "Well executed upper airline food" would be particularly enjoyable if I didn't have an invitation to go in less than two weeks.

I'm seeking out your advice. I'm not guessing anyone will say it's bad, but is it something I should be rushing to? Can it stand with shoulder-to-shoulder with other restaurants in the city charging that kind of tag? Or should I pass on Craft and work on narrowing down my long-lingering list instead?

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  1. n
    ninja RE: Woolsey Jul 30, 2007 10:11 PM

    It's not perfect, but I think it's much better than what the general consensus seems to be. We went as a party of 5 and shared everything family style. We ordered the pork belly, the pork terrine, the sardines, 2 orders of the duck eggs with mushrooms, the gnocchi, and the pork chop.

    I must say, all the pork was exceptional. We opted to stay away from the beef, the cheapest of which was $50. The prices on the beef entrees are all really, really outrageous, but we had a great dinner sticker to the cheaper red meat.

    With dessert, a cheese plate, a bottle of wine and a cocktail each for 5, we got out of there spending only $70pp. Then again, it was really late, and none of us ate that much.

    But, with that said, the food is pretty rich and will leave you feeling full even without eating much (and, believe me, we all have healthy appetites). The next time I go with just my SO, we would order one each of a salad, an app, a main, a side, and a cheese plate (which was extraordinary, BTW), and would probably leave there feeling totally sated while still only paying about $70pp.

    They are currently holding back on taking too many reservations, so as to allow the kitchen to get up to speed on the menu, which I think is a very wise move. The service is one of the best I've encountered in LA and the space is quite lovely.

    I liked it a lot and would definitely return.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ninja
      Woolsey RE: ninja Jul 30, 2007 10:51 PM

      The general consensus is really hard to read right now. There seem to be lots of hits, misses, and question marks; Craft seems to be a big "TBD." With Osteria Mozza, everything is in exclamation marks, both the positive and the negative, making it one of those places where, if one is fairly knowledgeable about one's own likes and temperament, one can judge the response and get a good feel for how one might like or dislike the place. With the Craft postings, though, everything is just all periods. The response seems more muted, and it's harder to tell. Actually, maybe that lack of fervid emotion, positive or negative, really is the best measurement.

      And I've seen the outrageous Wagyu beef prices on the online menu. But I'm a big pork fan, anyway. I've made note that the pork belly starter seems to be almost unanimously praised and will be ordered if I go. (After Mozza's excellent guinea fowl, I'm curious about Craft's take, but no one has posted about it.)

      1. re: Woolsey
        New Trial RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 01:47 AM

        I had dinner there with a friend last week and found the meal to be very good on the whole albeit I was much more impressed by my meal at Osteria Mozza.

        As an amuse, we were served delicious white anchovies on bruschetta; for appetizers, we split a nice hamachi with apricots and the outstanding chitarra spaghetti carbonara (!)--so good that my friend almost reneged on splitting it with me (fortunately, a large portion); for mains I had the wagyu ribeye, which was delicious but, at $88, a bit of a whim; my friend had the prawns which, while good (and only $28), were not up to the caliber of those at Osteria Mozza; sides were the assorted mushrooms (disappointing) and terrific gnocchi (!). A dessert amuse of sorbet with persimmon soup was quite nice and was a good contrast with the salty chocolate tart with hazelnut gelato (!). As others have noted, the service at Craft is excellent. I would definitely go back.

        All things being equal, Providence and Spago would get my nod ahead of Craft. However, if your friend has her heart set on trying it (or even just has the reservation already), you will not be disappointed having indulged her there.

        1. re: Woolsey
          brunello RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 03:37 AM

          I've been to Craft 3 times now. After the 4th I'll put a review up on CH. I personally believe that you've got to go a few times before you get a real feel for restaurants that fall in the mid to high-end range and especially newly opened restaurants.

          So far I've went early-week/early evening/outside dining; mid week, late, inside dining; walk-in lounge/bar meal... my next dinner will be a friday/saturday evening dinner when most restaurants are in the weeds. Quick take of Craft so far: great service, great bartender and martinis/negronis/scotch prices -- though not impressed with the specialty cocktails, not a very large or varied wine menu but appropriately priced and served properly and as I asked, the first courses are definitely the highlight of the meal, desserts are good, and expect a lot of amuse bouche courses (pre-meal and dessert at least.) Disappointments were the pork belly (wasn't impressed with the grade of cut and felt overcooked each time), the fowl (both the chicken and hen) overcooked and pretty boring, the waygu very overcooked.

          Some things I suggest when going is being specific on the pace of your meal to your waiter so that they aren't starting your courses too early (I don't think they are intentionally rushing; it just feels as if the kitchen is a bit nervous and trying to knock through as many orders as fast as they can to prevent getting in the weeds), getting the duck egg, peruvian octopus, the vegetables, the cheese plate.

          The actual menu when you go seems to be a subset of the online craft los angeles menu. The prices are _actually_ pretty reasonable (insane but true); the first meal I had there was a blowout for the hell of it ($600 total for 2 w/1 mid-priced bottle of wine and tip -- but that was 5 hour meal with an unreasonable amount of courses) but since it's been closer to 70pp to 100pp for a 2-2.5 hr meal total. I could probably do a late dinner in the lounge/bar for $50pp with drinks and tip.

          Of note is that they do take walk-ins which is great since unless you work at CAA/ICM which is right there, the destination factor of its location makes it easy to get a table since they lack foot traffic. Also, the outdoor lounge/cabanas in the summer and late fall make a great hangout as the sun is going down. It really fills a great niche for the area (X-bar is awful and is the closest to a winebar/lounge in the area.)

        2. re: ninja
          mlgb RE: ninja Jul 31, 2007 09:40 AM

          Sounds like you like pork.

          1. re: ninja
            ms.info RE: ninja Nov 14, 2007 03:33 PM

            Nancy has been doing the simply prepared, top-notch ingredient thing here in LA long before Tom arrived—and to my mind her preparations are still more thoughtful and better executed. (Plus at Nancy’s, you can park in the ‘hood for free and save yourself the $28 valet parking fee.)

          2. r
            revets2 RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 05:05 AM

            CRAFT is good. really good. we're a little put off by their corkage policy. we have two reservations over the next two weeks.

            but if you haven't been to O' MOZZA, PROVIDENCE, or SPAGO, and you're only going because a friend is a TC fan, perhaps you might regret that.

            to make it easier on the wallet, think about eating at PROVIDENCE on a monday. there's no corkage, however, drew's pairings are killer. or eat at SPAGO for lunch which is slightly easier on the wallet. the tasting menu here is usually the way to go. O'MOZZA is very good, especially at the bar. but i'm not sure i'd pass on a meal at CRAFT to go to LA CACHETTE (we make it here about once or twice a year). other friends swear by jean-francois when they work directly with him on a tasting menu.

            enjoy and buen provecho!

            2 Replies
            1. re: revets2
              Woolsey RE: revets2 Jul 31, 2007 08:10 AM

              I have been to Osteria Mozza, and I could go there again and again and again and again. I love the place:


              1. re: Woolsey
                revets2 RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 01:31 PM

                i see it. nice review. thanks for the link.

            2. c
              cmp RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 08:12 AM

              We went this last weekend to both Osteria Mozza and Craft (weekend night prime-time reservations at 7pm and 8pm respectively) and I would say that Craft's service didn't feel like it had everything running on all cylinders yet. Not sure if it was where our table was placed, but the waitstaff would just glance past our table as they went to serve others. A few times we had problems flagging down servers as they were passing our table. They seemed to be distracted and aloof.

              Our party of six, at the end of the evening, felt collectively that just due to service and ambiance they would head back to OM first. I think the kitchens at both are turning out some good food, and it was fun to see Nancy and Tom in their native environments, but OM seems to have the whole package currently.

              1. a_and_w RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 12:25 PM

                I haven't been to LA Craft, but the NY branch is in my top three favorite high-end meals in NYC. It has it's detractors but many, many fans, as well. Just keep in mind that the focus is on simpler preparations that showcase the ingredients more than the chef's cleverness.

                1. j
                  jocey RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 02:40 PM

                  I confess. I am the one that wants to go to CRAFT in order to catch Mr. Colicchio. To me, the opportunity to experience his artistry while he is in town is an opportunity that should not be missed.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: jocey
                    Woolsey RE: jocey Jul 31, 2007 02:46 PM

                    It's her! It's her fault! ;)

                    I have a feeling we'll still be debating this at Pizzeria Mozza next week...

                    1. re: Woolsey
                      a_and_w RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 05:13 PM

                      LOL! Just remember, to paraphrase Gordon Ramsey, it's still an Armani even if he didn't sew it himself.

                    2. re: jocey
                      banquisha RE: jocey Jul 31, 2007 08:30 PM

                      When is he leaving???

                      1. re: banquisha
                        Woolsey RE: banquisha Jul 31, 2007 11:54 PM

                        According to the Eater LA interview, he'll be in town until the season finale, which will be done live:


                      2. re: jocey
                        luvgrub RE: jocey Jul 31, 2007 08:43 PM

                        i'm a big 'top chef' fan too, and i was SO excited to see tom colicchio last sunday, surfing right next to me! i couldn't muster the words to say anything, but it was very cool.
                        i'm looking forward to going to CRAFT too,

                        1. re: luvgrub
                          jocey RE: luvgrub Aug 1, 2007 08:53 AM

                          Is there anyone that is sincerely passionate about what CRAFT serves? Or has anyone you know given Colicchio's food a "by any means the best meal I've had" stamp. I want to go because of my love for the show. On the other hand, I am having a hard time convincing my friend that the food will be worth it as well.

                      3. m
                        maudies5 RE: Woolsey Jul 31, 2007 09:36 PM

                        My son and friends dined at Craft this past weekend. Party of 6 was 1K.
                        They were unimpressed with the food; thought most entrees were much too fatty, especially the short ribs. They love good food and good restaurants but discouraged us from goiing to Craft. So, will wait a while.

                        1. Swoshmn RE: Woolsey Aug 1, 2007 10:31 AM

                          I am an instant fan of Craft.

                          Had a wonderful dinner last night.

                          Started with the Arugula salad which was nice and light, really great when stacked on top of a bite of the grain bread. Also had the carbonara pasta which I loved, amazed they served it in en entire pot, and even more amazed how full the pot was of pasta. The two first courses were perfect amount of food for the three of us.

                          We decided to have three mains to share. I went for the short rib that was also served in a pot, came out very wonderfully flavored with sparse vegetables simmering in the meat's juices. My first bite was a tad dry, requested a spoon to get the juice out of the bottom of the pot and made everything better. Next was the scallop, 4 large scallops came out in the order, I have always been a fan of scallops so it wasn't hard to win me over with this meal but it did certainly hit the spot. Last was the shrimp, I have never been amazed by shrimp before but always enjoyed them, these might be the best shrimp I have ever tasted. Thank you Tom!

                          For sides we had the potato gnocchi, good, and the sampler of the mushrooms, great.

                          We had tons of leftovers but still decided to push on to dessert and ordered the mint fudge ice cream, the teeccino sorbet, and the cookie sampler. Cookie sampler was ok but both of the frozen creams were the table's favorites.

                          An amazing meal all the way around. Colicchio popped out of the kitchen two times, it was a pleasure just to know he was back there.

                          Is it worth it? It was to me.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Swoshmn
                            jocey RE: Swoshmn Aug 1, 2007 10:47 AM

                            Wow! I think I'm ordering the carbonara pasta! =D

                            1. re: Swoshmn
                              NYCnowLA RE: Swoshmn Aug 1, 2007 12:28 PM

                              swoshmn -i was sitting next to you last night! (i recognize your food) i am glad you enjoyed it, so did we.

                              1. re: NYCnowLA
                                magpieang RE: NYCnowLA Aug 1, 2007 12:37 PM

                                okay, i'm with jocey and woolsey on the tentative reservation. I gotta say, I feel why it's worth the try, however, it may be a place you don't go all out like Osteria Mozza. I mean, the reviews do seem a bit lukewarm and no one is raving about anything in particular. There are a few things that seem to pop out from people who've eaten there, however, it seems that no one is raving. It's probably worth going, however, I think Woolsey will say it's no Osteria Mozza. I'm 50/50. Can anyone push me to 60/40?

                                1. re: magpieang
                                  Woolsey RE: magpieang Aug 1, 2007 12:51 PM

                                  You know me so well. ;)

                                  1. re: magpieang
                                    jocey RE: magpieang Aug 1, 2007 12:53 PM

                                    Woolsey suggested I buy the wine. That might push you to 70/30. Wait, how much do the bottles go for over there?

                                  2. re: NYCnowLA
                                    Swoshmn RE: NYCnowLA Aug 1, 2007 01:49 PM

                                    Ha, Amazing!

                                    Were you one of the dinners on the aisle side, or the couple that was on the inside?

                                    I was the younger one my table.

                                    1. re: Swoshmn
                                      NYCnowLA RE: Swoshmn Aug 1, 2007 02:27 PM

                                      i was on the inside next to the older gentelman at your table. that cookie sampler looked good. So many cookies!!

                                2. lotta_cox RE: Woolsey Aug 1, 2007 02:31 PM

                                  I have been to craft and craft steak. i love craft steak but i was only lukewarm on craft.

                                  1. j
                                    jenjunum RE: Woolsey Aug 2, 2007 09:16 AM

                                    I have a reservation for tomorrow night and I'm still a little on the fence as well. I'd really like to go but we were just in Vegas last weekend so we've recently shelled out for some expensive meals. As much as I'd like to eat in nice places once a week it really doesn't fit our budget. Right now I'm leaning towards going because, as a Top Chef fan, I'd love to meet the man or at least go when he's cooking.

                                    Is there any wine by the glass that's particularly good. My husband isn't much of a wine drinker and we usually can't finish a whole bottle when it's just the two of us.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: jenjunum
                                      revets2 RE: jenjunum Aug 2, 2007 10:20 AM

                                      did not see the wine by the glass selection. the craft cocktail is very popular, however.

                                      it is worth going if you want one or both cookbook signed by TC. buy one when you arrive, ask them if TC will sign, and tell them your name. it's a nice memento.

                                      1. re: revets2
                                        Woolsey RE: revets2 Aug 2, 2007 10:23 AM

                                        Is he there every night right now? Is there a regular night off for him? It would be a shame if a fan like my friend went for the express purpose of having Colicchio cook for her just to find out he's taken the evening off.

                                        1. re: Woolsey
                                          brunello RE: Woolsey Aug 2, 2007 06:20 PM

                                          I have seen him 2 out of the 3 times I've went.

                                          As for wines by the glass... yes there are plenty of wines by the glass. They're in the front section of the wine menu. I don't know if there's a sommelier there (I'd assume so) because I usually pick my own and am familiar, but if so I'd use him/her for a recommendation by the glass for pairings. The waitstaff does not appear to be knowledgeable about the wines -- but there's a guy in a suit (possibly GM, maybe the sommelier) who knows his stuff and the proper pairings.

                                          1. re: brunello
                                            Havesom00 RE: brunello Aug 4, 2007 02:15 AM

                                            i ate there last night and heard from the table sitting next to me that he leaves the 4th until the end of aug...

                                            1. re: Havesom00
                                              Woolsey RE: Havesom00 Aug 4, 2007 08:46 AM

                                              If true, that means he wouldn't be there for our reservation, and we were going expressly to eat there while he was cooking. I think we may be canceling...

                                              1. re: Woolsey
                                                NYCnowLA RE: Woolsey Aug 4, 2007 09:36 AM

                                                i'll be there in a few days and i'll let you know if the quality has changes without him there

                                                1. re: NYCnowLA
                                                  Woolsey RE: NYCnowLA Aug 4, 2007 10:04 AM

                                                  My friend wanted to go expressly while he was there. If he's not, we can wait for a later time. (I know that the food will be good even without Colicchio; since the restaurant will have had a chance to settle in, it will likely be better.)

                                                  We all have a lot of other reservations piled up - Osteria Mozza, lots of Pizzeria Mozza lunches from coworkers who've wanted to join in on our previously semi-clandestine fun, a big birthday party Labor Day weekend - so if Colicchio has indeed left the building, we can go when the time and budget suits us. That would be more enjoyable anyhow, as we've been ruthlessly carving up the menu with a calculator to the side. No one should go to a place like Craft in that sort of spirit.

                                          2. re: Woolsey
                                            revets2 RE: Woolsey Aug 3, 2007 12:26 AM

                                            he has been there everytime we've been there, however, i have no idea he has a set schedule. best you call.

                                      2. Woolsey RE: Woolsey Aug 2, 2007 07:45 PM

                                        I've been going over the menu quite fastidiously with the group today, trying to slice and dice it up along with the Chowhound reviews to get the best of what Craft has to offer while easing the tension on our wallets. After all, we're going to lunch at Pizzeria Mozza next week, and we're going to Osteria Mozza the Saturday following Craft. (Yes, we loves us some Mozza!) We have some serious eating packed into this month, and, since none of us have surnames like Spielberg, Murdoch, or Trump, all this fancy livin' can catch up to us quite fast. For the four of us going, we've go these dishes selected from the online menu:

                                        Peruvian Octopus
                                        Veal Sweetbreads
                                        Pork Belly
                                        Corn Agnolotti
                                        Chittara Spaghetti

                                        Rack of Pork

                                        Baby Fennel
                                        Hen of the Woods
                                        Braised Pee Wee Potatoes

                                        Salty Chocolate Tart

                                        First, are these good choices? Second, is this enough? We're sort of half-joking that we'll go to In-N-Out after, but we're more going to sample Colicchio's style than to fill up on his food. We're trying to factor in an expensive cocktail or two, tax, tip, and not have two $100+ dinners two weekends in a row. We're trying to be good friends and formulate a gameplan, as opposed to what we've been doing, like e-mailing jocey the very tempting, photo-filled website addresses to Jar and Hatfield's with notes like, "Look at the price of that seven-course tasting menu!"

                                        18 Replies
                                        1. re: Woolsey
                                          SauceSupreme RE: Woolsey Aug 2, 2007 09:53 PM

                                          I would swap out the Rack of Pork for the Wagyu Skirt Steak, but other than that, it's a good looking meal.

                                          1. re: SauceSupreme
                                            Woolsey RE: SauceSupreme Aug 2, 2007 10:07 PM

                                            I've read much of that wagyu skirt steak but A) wagyu is notoriously pricey, and we don't want to get a seventy-something-dollar entrée, and B) that dish is no longer on the menu, hence our not knowing how much it is and not choosing it from the list. If it's there when we go, and it doesn't cost two arms, a leg, and a pancreas, we're getting it. (Speaking of the pancreas, I told jocey just what exactly sweetbreads are. It was suggested I keep that to myself until after they are consumed by the other diners, just like I did with the trotters at Osteria Mozza.)

                                            1. re: Woolsey
                                              SauceSupreme RE: Woolsey Aug 2, 2007 10:35 PM

                                              Fair enough. We ordered both the wagyu as well as the rack of pork and the rack was pretty underwhelming. Opening night jitters, hopefully, but I thought it was the weakest plate on the table.

                                              1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                Woolsey RE: SauceSupreme Aug 2, 2007 10:39 PM

                                                Thanks for the warning. It's off the list.

                                                I would naturally gravitate to the guinea hen after having the excellent preparation at Mozza, but I've read some poor mentions for it, too. It seems like Craft is yet another L.A. restaurant where the entrées are the weakest part of the operation.

                                                1. re: Woolsey
                                                  SauceSupreme RE: Woolsey Aug 2, 2007 10:50 PM

                                                  I would say order it anyway. The rest of the your menu will pick it up and hey, it's pork.

                                                  1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                    Woolsey RE: SauceSupreme Aug 2, 2007 10:56 PM

                                                    I've not seen any mentions on any of the board's reviews on the fish entrées. Apparently no one's gone for those. (Or else they've been very few, and I've glazed over them...)

                                                    1. re: Woolsey
                                                      NYCnowLA RE: Woolsey Aug 2, 2007 11:10 PM

                                                      i have had the salmon twice and the Japanese sea bream once. both perfectly prepared and excellent.

                                                      1. re: NYCnowLA
                                                        AGENT FOODIE RE: NYCnowLA Aug 2, 2007 11:52 PM

                                                        the online menu is almost exact with their menu now. i had the rack of pork and i agree its good but a pricy. i dont want to say underwhelming but not quite up to par with the other items. hey SWOOSHMN, nice to see an NTer on here.

                                                        1. re: AGENT FOODIE
                                                          Woolsey RE: AGENT FOODIE Aug 3, 2007 12:09 AM


                                                          I've read several negative reviews of the short ribs, negative mentions for both the poultry dishes, the $92 lamb was described as overcooked - and no positive mentions for any of these. The best one can say of the rack of pork is that it's "not quite up to par with the other items"? This is why I can't bring myself to get excited about going to Craft.

                                                          1. re: Woolsey
                                                            SauceSupreme RE: Woolsey Aug 3, 2007 12:46 AM

                                                            I'll telling ya-- skirt steak.

                                                2. re: SauceSupreme
                                                  brunello RE: SauceSupreme Aug 3, 2007 03:29 AM

                                                  I want to say the skirt steak was ~$50, so not too bad (doing this from memory.) Cocktails were way, way cheaper than I expected. I'm fairly sure it was reasonably priced and not the the crazy $15/cocktail pricing like at some other LA restaurants.. I think I paid $18 for what ended up as a double of 18yr old Macallan (a very generous pour.)

                                                  If you're obsessed with Ratatouille... there is a byaldi on the menu which might be a fun addition. Also, I can't emphasize this enough to have a relaxing meal, but tell your server exactly how you'd like the pace of the food to be served. With that many firsts, I'd have them split table service into two courses so you can linger a bit more and take time to share amongst the table without items going cold.

                                                  1. re: brunello
                                                    Woolsey RE: brunello Aug 3, 2007 07:02 AM

                                                    I'm thinking that, if that skirt steak is not available (and if I go - I'm starting to hop back on that fence again), this will be a meal made up of starters and sides. For a dollar more per person than the price of the underwhelming rack of pork, we could have the quail starter, the byaldi, and the angel food cake.

                                                    Yes, when I'm really not enthused, I nickel-and-dime a place to death. When I really want to go, I spend with (a little too much) abandon.

                                                    1. re: Woolsey
                                                      Servorg RE: Woolsey Aug 3, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                      I notice that the Wolf’s Neck Farm Wagyu Flatiron is listed on this online menu at $95:


                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                        Woolsey RE: Servorg Aug 3, 2007 11:18 AM

                                                        That link is to the New York menu. (We made the same mistake at one point yesterday, thinking all the dishes suddenly changed.)

                                                        1. re: Woolsey
                                                          Servorg RE: Woolsey Aug 3, 2007 11:21 AM

                                                          Funny. Open Table has it under the Craft Los Angeles listing.


                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                            Servorg RE: Servorg Aug 3, 2007 11:25 AM

                                                            And yet another purported LA Craft menu with a Wagyu rib eye at $88 and a Wagyu sirloin at $96:


                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                              Woolsey RE: Servorg Aug 3, 2007 11:42 AM

                                                              That's the L.A. Craft menu. Paying $96 for six ounces of meat is obscene.

                                                              1. re: Woolsey
                                                                Servorg RE: Woolsey Aug 3, 2007 11:46 AM

                                                                You will note the root of obscene, and craft your own response.

                                          2. Debbie W RE: Woolsey Aug 3, 2007 09:13 AM

                                            Here's a quick report on our dinner at Craft last night - I'll just list what we had with the prices since the prices are a main topic on this thread, and some brief comments.

                                            Two "Bulleit Manhattans" - $12 each - very good
                                            One pork belly - $15 - excellent, very rich
                                            One duck egg - $15 - interesting, good but not sure if I'd repeat
                                            One rack of pork - $36 - moist, simple preparation, very good
                                            One assorted mushrooms - $21 - I thought too salty but my husband didn't agree
                                            One braised runner beans - $10 - a hit! - simply braised with tomatoes
                                            One glass of Albarino - $10
                                            One glass of Dom. La Fage - $9
                                            One salty chocolate tart - $12 - superb
                                            One coffee - $3.50 - fine but not noteworthy

                                            Service was really wonderful - professional yet not one iota of stuffiness.
                                            So the subtotal before tax and tip was $155.50 (for a total of $200 out the door). It was definitely worth it, and plenty of food.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Debbie W
                                              jocey RE: Debbie W Aug 3, 2007 10:08 AM

                                              AWESOME! Thanks for the report. It will come in handy.

                                              1. re: Debbie W
                                                SauceSupreme RE: Debbie W Aug 3, 2007 10:11 AM

                                                And see, Woolsey, here's another fan of the rack of pork. I'm saying, they had an off night for that dish when I went. But I certainly like your plan of all starters and sides. In fact, if I were to do Craft again, I would do exactly that, especially since I skipped the pork belly (no I don't regret that omission, but it does inspire me to visit again).

                                                1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                  Debbie W RE: SauceSupreme Aug 3, 2007 10:39 AM

                                                  I just don't think they muck around with their meats very much - that's consistent with our two experiences at Craftsteak. The rack of pork is simple, flavorful pork but not a whole lot more - but who needs more?! I really wanted to try the chittara spaghetti but after much discussion with both our servers, we decided it would be too creamy for my husband, who has some degree of lactose intolerance with certain dairy. I would've eliminated the duck egg in favor of that spaghetti and done the pork belly as a first course, then the spaghetti, then the main and sides. I don't think I would do the mushroom assortment again, it wasn't worth $21, and I'd read that here and mentioned it to my husband, but we decided to try it anyway and see for ourselves especially since we had the hen of the woods mushroom at Craftsteak a few months ago and it was fabulous. The mushrooms were really the only item that I thought was overpriced although $12 for dessert is inching up there, albeit the salty chocolate tart was incredible. I forgot to mention but the pre-first-course amuse and the dessert amuse were both really good.

                                                  1. re: Debbie W
                                                    munchy RE: Debbie W Aug 5, 2007 09:02 PM

                                                    I realize oversaucing can be a problem, and I can't say I find it ubiquitous, but...is it me, or is Craft undersauced?

                                                    We went recently one weekend, and the heritage rack of pork was just plain dry and the japanese sea bream undistinguished despite truffles.

                                                    A standing ovation for the pork belly, though!

                                                    Lengthier review and complete menu of what we ordered: http://cynematic.wordpress.com/2007/0...

                                                    1. re: munchy
                                                      SauceSupreme RE: munchy Aug 5, 2007 09:07 PM

                                                      And then again, Woolsey, here's someone who was also underwhelmed by the rack of pork.

                                                      I think the dish can be best described as "inconsistent".

                                                      1. re: SauceSupreme
                                                        Woolsey RE: SauceSupreme Aug 5, 2007 09:58 PM

                                                        Well, I've decided not to go. There's too much on my plate, both figuratively and now literally, and I can't really shoulder the expense this month. Moreover, I don't want to go there and be a killjoy, nickeling-and-dimeing the order and being the first to criticize if something isn't absolutely fantastic. I'll wait for my friends' report and, if they enjoy it, I may plan to dine there in the future. (It's not such a big deal to me to have Colicchio in the kitchen.)

                                              2. f
                                                Frank_Santa_Monica RE: Woolsey Aug 5, 2007 10:09 PM

                                                OK. I've been on the Craft bandwagon since I went opening week. Went a 2nd time Thursday night. My only beef (no pun intended) the 2nd time around (besides the expensive, borderline mediocre food), is that manager isn't the nicest guy.

                                                Regardless, I'm still on the Craft bandwagon, and I'm going again very soon. Hey, it's easier to get in here than OsMo.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Frank_Santa_Monica
                                                  Woolsey RE: Frank_Santa_Monica Aug 5, 2007 10:19 PM

                                                  A friend of mine who works at Bravo (the "Top Chef" channel) e-mailed for information on how to get Craft reservations; apparently her boss was laboring under the impression it was really difficult to get into, à la Osteria Mozza. (I e-mailed back that one can make reservations very easily via OpenTable.com.) Maybe part of the reason it's relatively easy to get in at Craft is that people have assumed it's really hard to get in...

                                                2. j
                                                  jocey RE: Woolsey Aug 6, 2007 12:17 PM

                                                  NEVERMIND! Just called and Chef Colicchio is leaving on the 8th. The person on the phone added that they were not sure when he would be returning. Oh boo. Come on Woolsey lets go to Providence.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: jocey
                                                    Woolsey RE: jocey Aug 6, 2007 12:19 PM

                                                    That'll have to wait until the fall. After the next two weeks, Mario and Nancy will have taken all my money for awhile.

                                                    You want Providence, or Hatfield's?

                                                    1. re: Woolsey
                                                      jocey RE: Woolsey Aug 6, 2007 12:21 PM

                                                      Which is Chef Colicchio going to be at? JP - bad joke. Shall we start a new thread: Providence v Hatfield's

                                                      1. re: jocey
                                                        Woolsey RE: jocey Aug 6, 2007 12:24 PM

                                                        I'll leave that to you. But I can already tell you which one will win that contest on this board...

                                                  2. s
                                                    sloanedone RE: Woolsey Aug 11, 2007 03:06 AM

                                                    Honestly, there isn't a lot more to be said. A lot of the stuff is great, but it's just too expensive, especially since there's some spotty stuff on the menu. You pony up at Mozza, but I felt like I was getting something very special there that you can't get in LA. Great space at Craft, great service, primo ingrediants but the vibe doesn't do it. Too CAA. And Craft had the worst $45 dollar steak I've had in LA.

                                                    1. s
                                                      sunsetlocal RE: Woolsey Aug 11, 2007 09:17 AM

                                                      The place is just not that special. The pork belly, octopus, spagetti and angliotti were all pretty good dishes but just not that memorable. There is a ton of competition at the $250 for 2 dinner level and while this is a very servicable place I can come up with probably 10 other places that I will go back to before returning here. Its really pretty good, its just there are lots of places that are better. On reflection, might go back for drinks. The bar area is pretty cool inside/out space and while we stuck with wine, the cocktails did at least look appealing. Could see some value for 2 rounds of drinks at $50 or so vs dinner.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: sunsetlocal
                                                        mindyt RE: sunsetlocal Aug 13, 2007 08:43 AM

                                                        I went to Craft on the advice of this board on Friday (was in from Toronto).We sat outside and had a few cocktails. The beverage manager came over to see how we enjoyed our drinks and we got into a rather lengthy conversation with him about tequilas and other spirits . He was obviously very knowledgeable about different spirits, etc. and we had lots of questions. He was kind enough to give me his card and asked me to e-mail him any time I wanted to know something. We were really blown away by that.

                                                        I won't go in to too much detail about the food. It seems as though we ordered many of the same dishes that have been covered in previous posts.

                                                        The only service issue we encountered was the timing. My companion ordered a martini to have with his oysters and it came well after the oysters. He also ordered an expresso to have with desert. It came at the very end, after the desert and petit fours were served, at which point he no longer wanted it.

                                                        At $600 for two people, I would expect things to arrive promptly. The take away little muffins they gave us did make a nice breakfast the next day!

                                                        Over all, I would say:
                                                        Service:9 (the timing was off but all of the staff were really great)

                                                        1. re: mindyt
                                                          revets2 RE: mindyt Aug 13, 2007 01:43 PM

                                                          wow! that's practically a night out at URASAWA!

                                                      2. scurvy RE: Woolsey Aug 13, 2007 09:28 AM

                                                        I went on Friday and really loved it. I'm not sure if it is quite up to Osteria Mozza level, but I found it to be a worthwhile special night out. I wrote a lengthy review and probably should have added it here instead of starting a new thread. You can check it out here if you are so inclined:


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