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CRAFT 3 Stars???? [moved from Los Angeles board]

Craft just received 3 stars from our local LA paper. Have to say our experience was far below 2 stars in fact after experiencing most of the new local Century City Craft menu (with TC in the Kitchen) we were semi disappointed and saw nothing close to our NYC experiences at TC's other Restaurants.
Our first stop in NYC is normally Gramercy Tavern before we hit the town hard.
Does this mean Providence should be 9 stars? Bastide 8 stars. French Laundry 10 stars. There I feel better now!
Craft will have to preform an exorcism before we set foot in there again, very average basic food.
One Wish upon a Star?

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  1. By that rating of Craft, I would give French Laundry a billion stars.

    Looks like SIV might have joined the "two martini's or so before writing" club.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Diana

      Or she went as herself and got the star treatment. You know, the Ruth Reichl problem.

      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        ..or to go back a bit, the Lois Dwan problem. Giving 3 stars to Craft is even more insulting to Angelini.

        1. re: mnosyne

          She has been rather off the last several weeks. 1 1/2 stars for Angelini and 3 for Craft??? 1/2 star for Abode? (I love that place).

    2. Nearly everyone who's worked in enough reviewable LA restos knows what Irene looks like. You can see her and her hubby coming a mile away. Everyone from bussers, to servers to the line cooks goes into Irene mode, not to mention the Chef and GM. She has almost consistently overrated every restaurant I've eaten at and based on my personal experience (as a restaurant employee) I can see why. She gets much better treatment (more attentive from the front and back of house) than most folks do. I can't trust her reviews at all.

      and to Diana, I've never seen her drink before dinner, FWIW.

      5 Replies
      1. re: echo eater

        maybe she & her hubby needs to start the habit of wigs & sunglasses too ;)

        but yes, I find her reviews to be a mixed bag compared to my own experiences. Interestingly, Jonathan Gold (who's probably just as recognizable in the resto scene) is much more spot-on.


        1. re: AquaW

          Yes, J. Gold, equally, if not more recognizable seems more even handed in his measurements. I agree that his reviews feel more reliable. While I have witnesses extra attention being lavished upon him as well, I think he's better able to read between the lines.

          1. re: echo eater

            Jonathan Gold really is no better than Virbila; he hands out some real lollapaloozas, too. Royale, SimonLA, and Pho 79 in Chinatown stand out as some of his huge headscratchers. He fetishizes certain places, then won't stop banging their drum, no matter how bad they may actually be. It's just that he often tends to tread an earthier territory than Virbila - when has she ever reviewed a taqueria? - which is why I think he gets so much more praise.

            With both critics, one has to read between the lines, learn to recognize their idiosyncracies, and, with enough experience, a reader can decode when the experience is truly good or bad and when the critic is just having his or her particular buttons pushed.

          2. re: AquaW

            On the other hand I think Leslie Brenner, Linda Burum and Susan LaTempa, among others at the LA Times do a very good job finding and reviewing the smaller, overlooked Asian and Latin American restaurants in the greater LA area.

          3. re: echo eater

            I was being silly.

            I wouldn't give a place a billion stars, either, to be clear on that :)

          4. funny considering how craft (nyc) lost a michelin star this year.

            1. I read the thread title and thought that Russ/Kar had some insight into the upcoming Michelin guide. Now that I've learned that it's not the case, I offer a disinterested shrug and hit Back on my browser in 3...2...

              1. I don't know if anyone has been to Craft recently- my husband and I went last week- and were very happy. The service, which most of the poor reviews were focused on, was impecable. We had a knowledgable waiter, who was quite attentive. The food itself- was fantastic. Now I cannot compare it to Craft NYC of 5 years ago, but I don't often compare restaruants in that way.

                1. Everyone sounds so bitter. I've been twice to Craft and loved it both times. I think the decor is beautiful, the service wonderful and the food, well I wouldn't have returned if I didn't love it. Can't wait to return!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: xoxohh

                    I'm not bitter -- in point of fact, I've never been to Craft, or to any of the other fancy higher-end restaurants in LA (except for the now-defunct L'Orangerie, as part of a business deal, and AOC)... my comment was more about the fact that I view all restaurant reviews with suspicion, because of course everyone knows what the major reviewers look like.

                    That's why I love Chowhound. While I'm sure Richard Gould-Saltman, to take an example, is recognised in some places, the restaurants aren't waiting for him to come in so they can swoop down and garner the stars the way they are for Jonathan Gold or S. Irene Virbila, so his reviews are more honest to me.

                  2. The article did say that there were problems early on. If anyone had dined there past month or so probably have more up to date input - I will appreciate hearing about them.

                    I have to say I am torned. I had a reservations for Craft for this weekend, and was thinking of canceling it and go line up at Osteria Mozza instead, but with this review it seems like maybe it's worth a try after all.

                    If most of the problems are on service and not about the food I don't really care. As long as the food is properly cooked, served at the right temperature and delicious I am not looking for the star treatment.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: notmartha

                      Here's my summary of my experience at Craft last week. We were brought to our table immediatly. Someone was there to offer water shortly after we were seated. Our plates were cleared appropriatly and we were never left hanging without silverware. Our waiter was very helpful, and helped us to matcd our entrees and sides. Bigeye tuna was light and creamy, with a beautiful radish salad. The roasted quail with huckleberry was so rich and flavorful, the perfect Fall dish. My husband chose the Tai Snapper & Sea Urchin Vinaigrette- and it was perfectly executed, the vinaigrette was like taking a dip in the ocean. I chose the Braised Alaskan Sable & Bacon Sabayon, and have dreamt of the rich flavorful sabayon and light flaky fish ever since. For sides you can't go wrong with the White Sweet Potato & Marshmallow, which I dare try to replicate for this years Thanksgiving- in place of an old family recipe. Yes it was that good. The Fava Beans & Pecan Butter was lacking a little something. The one and only dish I would have replaced, but it wasn't bad by any means. For dessert I suppose we were in a breakfast mood, for which I am so grateful. I loved the 3 sauces that went with the delicate, delicious Glazed Donuts, and my husband thoroughly enjoyed the Breakfast Waffle with Warm Blueberries & Maple Bacon Ice Cream. Thats right, bacon ice cream. On top of all this there were several Amuse Bouches were offered, and a delightful pumpkin muffin all packaged up for breakfast the next day. All in all it was an excellent (albiet pricey) meal, and I look foward to more good things to come from Craft.

                      1. re: jme1beachbum

                        Hee. Maple Bacon ice cream is nothing shocking to chowhounds...go visit Scoops!

                      2. This is just more fodder to my long-held belief that we should do away with "stars," or numbers or grades whatsoever. It seems like such an arbitrary meaning. How do you compare Craft's 3 stars of the LA Times, to its 14/20 on Gayot.com, to its 4.5 stars on Yelp (a collective rating).

                        Speaking of which, here are all the three-star restaurants in LA: http://www.calendarlive.com/dining/se...

                        Craft's got eclectic company, that's for sure.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: TinyNancer

                          Well, been to Patina, AOC, Lucques, Campanile, Tre Venezia, Triumphal Palace, H.K. Palace, and Pizzeria Mozza and I have to say none of them are 3 stars in my book.

                          Mozza is closest but that's still not 3 star.

                          1. re: notmartha

                            Good Point!
                            I think the 3 star choices from the list are:
                            Dining Room (Pasadena)

                            1. re: notmartha

                              I went this past weekend, and I think LA Time's star system must take into consideration the ambience and service besides the food. Although it still doesn't explain Mozza or Hong Kong Palace, of which both service and ambience I found subpar.

                              So with that said, the service was impeccable. If there was a problem earlier it's not evident anymore. Water was refilled promptly, never had to wait for dishes to be whisked away, and the food came out promptly (almost too fast). The dining room was very attractive and relaxing (unlike P. Mozza which was like dining at Grand Central). Food was perfectly executed and served at the proper temperature. Attention to detail was most impressive. I particularly liked the mini PB&J macaroon and brittle they served after dessert and the pumpkin spice muffins for the next day. Perfect touch.

                              So yes I guess the star rating is kind of inflated, but considering the other 3 star restaurants on her list Craft is more worthy as it's more a complete package. Of course if you just count food alone there are plenty of restaurants that are just as delicious (if not more) without the hefty price tag.

                              1. re: notmartha

                                Glad to hear more people are enjoying this delightful restaruant, seems like they have gotten out all the glitches. Any dishes in particular you favored?

                                1. re: jme1beachbum

                                  I am always partial to foie, and I loved their donut. There's a more detail response under the LA board.

                          2. Moderators - This is about LA restaurants and the LA branch of Craft, it belongs on the LA board, not NYC!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Alice Q

                              This thread is on the Food Media and News board, where reviews are discussed.

                              1. re: The Chowhound Team

                                That seems odd to me, considering that it is related solely to one restaurant in LA, and contains multiple posts regarding people's opinions of the restaurant - but c'est la vie!

                            2. I wait a few months for the place to settle in. I've been there twice this year - 2008 - and thought it was pricey, but very good. I look forward to going back.

                              I read Brad's review in Angeleno where he said everything was over-salted. And he likes salt. But experience was that nothing was over-salted, nor under-salted. In fact, you'd might say it was perfectly salted. I'd put it in my top ten L.A. restaurants.