Craft restaurant in Century City
Has any fellow Chowsters been there? I hear it's booked solid for months. A L.A . publication did a review and said the service is lousy but the food was great.
Is it worth spending a hundred bucks on a Wagyu sirloin dinner for one?
-keeping the peace
i had a truly disappointing meal there a couple weeks ago. the octopus chorizo thing was totally mediocre, as was a $130 steak for two. sides were okay. service was average at best. i would go to CUT a million times before going back to craft, and i'm not even that big a fan of CUT. blah.
I think being booked solid for months got to be an exaggeration. I was able to get a Saturday night reservation at a decent time a couple of weeks ago and just went this past Saturday.
I was glad I waited a couple of months for the restaurant to shake down because I thought the service was impeccable, the dining room was very attractive (low key elegance) and the food solid.
Never had to wait for water, for plates to be cleared, for any one to show up taking our orders. This was impressive because it's not just one waiter and one bus boy. There was one waiter for the order, and I think at least 4 other servers at various times with the drink, delivering the food, taking the plates, etc. so it's a smooth and choreographed dance that's well executed. The service wasn't obtrusive either nor snobby.
The food was good and cooked perfectly. I have some issues with some of the flavorings (personal preferences perhaps) but all the proteins were done properly and served at the right temperature. I was also very pleased with the attention to detail. Amuse is kind of the usual stuff for most places but Craft offered a little something to start the meal, a little something before the dessert, another something after dessert, and a muffin for the next day. Yes, it's a pittance when you drop a bundle for dinner but a lot of places don't even bother.
- amuse of crabmeat in green tea gelee. I can't really taste the green tea and the crabmeat could use some salt.
- foie gras with quince and pistachio, which is my favorite dish. A bit pricey but it's an appetizer serving for 2 person easily. Foie was perfectly executed - seared on the outside, tender on the inside. Some places tends to overcook foie so it's not too creamy inside, some undercooked it. Craft got it just perfectly. I was surprised but the pistachio worked well with the foie.
- spaghetti carbonara
It's pretty good but I am old schooled and preferred the dry pasta with more egg and more pancetta. In other words my homemade version that's based on dishes I had in Rome is better
- japanese wagu beef
The texture of the meat was really good - meltingly tender. I was a little put off by the rosemary flavor. Would have preferred plain salt and pepper. Overall while the texture is good I prefer the flavor of the beef at Hitching Post (sans their specialized salt/seasoning) better.
- Striped Bass with truffles
Bass was cooked perfectly but the truffles overwhelmed the taste of the sweet flesh. There are 4 sliced truffle on top of the fish. I think no problem with execution but the concept is not good
- Potato Gratin
Rich, decadent, to die for. Even better than the famed Robuchon mashed potatoes. I love the little copper pan it was baked and served on.
- English peas with pancetta
Looked good, cooked perfectly. Some spinach leaves in there too which is not on the menu description, not sure why
- palate cleanser of coconut gelato with kiwi and pineapple 'soup' (free)
- glazed donuts with coffee, jam and chocolate sauce. Really, really good. Not sure what oil they fried them with but it has great flavor - for me the sauces were more of a distraction. Love them plain.
- olive oil gelato. Good flavor, served a little too frozen in the middle (small nit)
- green jasmine tea. They served it in a little bee house tea pot with good quality loose tea. Very reasonably priced too.
- little PB&J macaroons and salty crunchy nut brittle as last bites plus pumpkin spiced muffins to go (free)
Overall it was a pleasure to dine there - it provided a complete package of good food, great ambience and attentive service. Yes, I can find better and less pricey food elsewhere, but when you want to be pampered - Craft will do.
Every year there's a poll of favorite LA restaurants on this board, so I would suggest checking the restaurants on that list:
When I said better and less pricey - I am thinking of the many ethnic eats for chinese, mexican and others, where you go for the food alone - no ambience, not much service.
It's probably blasphemy, but for me I am just as happy with Langer or Katz (NYC) deli's pastrami & chopped liver as the ultra expensive japanese wagu.
Oh. I have that list and a few others as well. I thought you meant better and less pricey food in the same category as craft. I have known about Langers for awhile but I cant get out there since they have funky hours and I live near Palos Verdes.
Still, craft has a unique offering and only Jar comes close in my opinion.
It's fresh pasta, I think they used cream sauce, but it's not an overwhelming amount of sauce (not drenched in it). I can't taste any eggs or parmesean at all. I only ordered it because my son loved carbonara. Craft isn't really an Italian restaurant, so I don't expect greatness on the pasta.
There are plenty of other stuff on the menu to order, and if you are expecting the carbonara in the style of cooked dried pasta (al dente/very firm) tossed with pancetta, raw eggs and parmesan this isn't it.
I don't know? I made a reservation after reading the LA Times review of Craft. It was for tonight. But after talking to many friends and reading more and more about it being a 5-6 on the 10 scale, I prefer to spend my $250.00 (per couple) somewhere else. So I just canceled. I'll keep on reading and interviewing about Craft. If I see an 8 - 8.5 on the radar screen, I'll give it a try. Until then.
just go and order a few appetizers to see for youself. You dont have to spend 250 on a full dinner. Although, this is not NYC, where you can hop on a 10 minute subway, have some appetizers and wine, then be home 10 minutes later. It still might be worht a small nibble just for taste.
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