Craft continues to please.
- JeffW Jan 30, 2008 09:59 AM
Spousal unit and I have been living high on the hog these past few weeks. Din-din with Tom and Katie at Cut, and also Hatfields. The Tom and Katie part is me being silly, but they were there the night we were there. We're not celebrity watchers, but being in the middle of all of the camera flashes was kind of fun. All of the above regards the enjoyment of dining at various restaurants in our city, except we don't find many spots where we want to go back again and again. When it comes to high end restaurants there aren't very many where we would consider ourselves to be "regulars" at. Reading Chowhound, it's enjoyable to see the posts of those who've found some high end restaurants where they are continually pleased, i.e., Russkar/Providence. After our dinner last night at Craft (our 4th.), I think that at last we have hit paydirt regarding a " big ticket" restaurant that lives up to its hype. I've read some negatives concerning the large menu at Craft. Some dishes are described as stellar, and some, not quite so. I'm not totally disagreeing with these comments, but at Craft we are starting to get into the vibe of ordering well, and we leave so satisfied. We have found consistently excellent service, and a noise level (even when full) where we can enjoy conversation. Last night we started with Maker's Mark Manhattans straight up. The waiter poured the drinks from shakers in front of us in large martini glasses. The drinks looked plenty big, but I guess not to the waiter. He tells us that he will be back with more, and before we knew it, he is back with another shaker, and our glasses were topped off. By me, this was overkill, and I ended up drinking only half, but still, it was an example of great service.
Our dining started off with an amuse bouche that was more than something just to announce that we are getting a complimentary few calories. It was a piece of charred salmon topped with a cucumber gelee. Really flavorful and a generous taste at that.
Our starters consisted of their grilled Peruvian Octopus with a smear of Greek yogurt in the casserole bottom, and cubes of a very fluffy polenta. This dish was off the charts delicious. The Octopus was tender inside, crispy outside, rich and flavorful. We also ordered Wagyu beef tongue. It consisted of paper thin slices of the tongue, and little quenelles of Falafel. Another tasty dish, but maybe not due to the tongue alone. It was sliced a little too thin and it acted more as a seasoning versus being the star of this dish. The Falafel part was great.
We shared a salad of baby Romaine lettuce topped with fried anchovies and Parmesan.
Our main courses were Diver Scallops and Beef Cheeks. The 4 large crispy and yet tender scallops were ummmazing, and the beef was like a flavorful short rib, but even beefier. We were on the money ordering the sides that we did. Roasted Jerusalem artichokes were simply wonderful, and if they are on the menu next time we are there, I won't miss them. We ordered a potato dish that I'm still thinking about. White sweet potatoes with marshmallow. OH MY GAWD, was that ever good.
Dessert was off the charts wonderful for spousal unit, and not quite so for me. He ordered an orange chocolate souffle, accompanied by "creamsicle ice cream", and a pitcher of creme anglaise. It was a decadent dish to look at, and he was in dessert heaven. I've always been a sucker for Craft's parfaits, but the version that I ordered was the first time I was a little less than happy with their parfait. It was delicious cinnamon ice cream layered, with some sort of Italian biscuit and espresso syrup. The biscuit part really had no flavor and the layers of it throughout the parfait detracted from the ice cream.
Petits fours consisted of a delicious lemon poppyseed macaroon and a little square of what seemed to be a soft nougatine, and this little square was packed with deliciousness.
I guess our send off from Craft, after our hedonistic binge is something that isn't a fluke, because this is the 4th. time where we left, carrying their home made muffins. This time it was their carrot cake version. I can't report on how delicious it was, because after last night's huge dinner, our breakfast today consisted of dry cereal and coffee.
We brought in a bottle of our own wine as we've done in the past. Twice we've been the happy recipients of no charging for being able to do so. Last night we weren't so lucky, but hey---every day isn't a holiday is it? Craft charges $35 for corkage. Our total bill including corkage (not including tip) came to $241
Kinda expensive. Anyway, I think you've nailed the key to Craft, which is ordering well. I love "Opinionated About Dining", like the best food blog ever, and his experiences at Craft in NY are really worth reading. Bottom line, he was lukewarm about the restaurant until he learned to let the kitchen send out what they thought was good that night. Then he started loving the place. BTW, I love Cut, what did you think?
re: la tache burger
At Cut I had the singularly best New York steak of any restaurant I've been to. They had beef from Iowa that was dry aged for 21 days, and the next tier up was Nebraska beef that was dry aged for 35 days. It was the Nebraskan beef that I ordered, and this steak had awesome flavor with a melt in your mouth texture similar to fillet.
I agree that the experience is excellent, however, I'm in no rush to return. The cooking reminded me of stuff I can do at home, but with the the best ingredients possible. In other words, it was a little too simple for my taste.
Sortof like a "modern steakhouse" - in fact, it reminded me of cut, but with a lot more dishes and a lot less attitude - less expensive too.
Hum, but the best ingredients possible is the key. It can be hard to access that. Personally, I like simple. I like the ingredients speak for themselves, instead of a ton of sauces, and garnishes.
The wagu I ordered had flavor, maybe too much so of the rosemary flavor.
Haven't gone back yet as we are still making the rounds of the other high end establishments on my list. Somehow blowing $200+ seems wasteful when the economy is bad, and there are people w/o homes, never mind spending $$$ on a meal. Can only justify it for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.