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Anyone been to Craft lately?

I haven't been since they lost their wonderful chef de cuisine and pasty chef (and consequently changed their menus!). I heard the quality and overall experience really went downhill since the loss. It's been about a year now, and I am wondering if they've been able to get their act together? Anyone been lately? Anything good/bad to report?

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  1. Still at the bottom of the hill. The food seemed to be either underseasoned or overseasoned. There was no communication between the kitchen and the servers as to what was out that night or how many orders of items were left. The deserts are nowhere near what they were and for some reason, the wine list was purged of anything reasonably priced. I believe the least expensive wine was $72 and there were maybe only 2 or 3 bottles under $100. If I was to go a next time I would bring my own wine.

    3 Replies
    1. re: scottyp34

      The wine list has always been that way, in my experience.

      While I've enjoyed my visits under the new regime well enough, they don't live up to the experiences I had when Matt Accarrino was at the helm. Friends have reported similar experiences. The food just seems a bit dumbed down (and my friend recently tried SPQR up in SF, where Accarrino is now, and reported that it really reminded him of my he had previously liked Craft so much). Ingredients have still been top quality, but it just doesn't seem as special as it previously did.

      1. re: scottyp34

        We brought our own wine and that, along with the short ribs, was the most enjoyable part of the meal. We had 6 people, shared a number of salads, starters and mains (including the stupidly expensive and completely useless $110 Rib Eye For The Table...don't ask...wasn't my idea). I'm in no hurry to go back.
        However, the CraftBar menu looked intriguing and I did have a good martini to warm up.

        1. re: scottyp34

          I brought a bottle of wine during our dinela visit and corkage was a whopping $35!!

        2. They didn't "loose" Matthew Accarrino & Catherine Schimenti.
          Colicchio fired them.
          That is, sorry about Colicchio.

          4 Replies
          1. re: RicRios

            one tiny detail..he fired Acarrino so Schimenti quit in solidarity.
            sorry too. that is sorry too about Colicchio :)
            as a former regular at Craft, i agree it just doesn;t have the same umph that it had when matt was there. the speicalness is gone.

              1. re: la tache burger

                Good question, but Accarrino and Catherine Schimenti (former pastry chef) are dating. She quit at the same time Accarrino was fired...

                1. re: la tache burger

                  they did not see eye to eye on the running of the place

            1. My family had an outstanding dinner there at Thanksgiving -- every bit as good as the many meals I had at the NYC location. The pastries, in particular, were outstanding. I will say, however, that the wine rec wasn't to my liking.

              1. We've continued to go semi-regularly but these days tend to sit at the bar and mostly order from the Craftbar menu, occasionally interspersing something from the regular menu. We went last Saturday and sat at the bar and actually had the Dine LA menu which was pretty well executed and certainly a good value. I think after Matt and Cat left, we sat in the main dining room once or twice. Had some oversalting issues at least one of those times. My main complaint with the new regime is the dessert menu, which as scottyp34 states is nowhere what it used to be. I'm a major dessert person and Craft had one of the better dessert menus in town, at least of the places I go (although my very favorite dessert anywhere is Jar's butterscotch pudding). The parfait that Cat did with the vanilla bean ice cream, peanut butter and marshmallow is sorely missed.

                1. Sarah,

                  I came here with a group of 5 during dinela last week. I was really disspointed with the food. I was expecting more finesse and exciting food. Maybe because it was dinela and the menu is dumbed down. The meal was pretty much served family style. Some of the appetizers that came out were really sorry dishes like the salad. It was over dressed and looked like it had been sitting for quite a while. All the entrees tasted extremely heavy and over salted. Our dessert portions were 3x larger than our entree portions.. weird. For a Michelin Star restaurant I did not get that from the food. I have to say that the service was stellar though.. probably the best I've had compared to Jean Georges (3 michelin stars NY), Providence (LA), and Le Bernadin (NY). Not a restaurant I would return to.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: karynx78

                    Craft always serves the food family style.

                    1. re: karynx78

                      Craft has no Michelin stars and never has.

                      1. re: nargi

                        And I'd bet never will! I work in the CAA building next door and still can't find a reason to set foot in the door anymore, at least beyond the bar. It's a mystery to me why Colicchio can't get his act together in this space... Even more of a mystery why people continue to frequent the restaurant -- I guess it's because of the location.

                    2. Thanks to all for the input. Sadly, I was expecting this type of response. My husband and I were regulars at Craft for awhile, but stopped going last year after one truly bad meal right after Matt and Cat left. I was hoping a year was time enough for them to find an outstanding chef de cuisine and pastry chef that would continue to uphold the fresh, seasonal, inventive and overall outstanding food this duo had produced. Debbie W, the peanut butter marshmallow and vanilla parfait was one of my absolute favorites in the city! So sad to see it go. And they did a great roasted octopus entree that is no longer on the menu as well. Thanks again for all the input. I will steer clear for now and cross my fingers Tom gets his act together there, and it returns to its original splendor.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: SarahM

                        Ok, bringing this thread back because I just looked at the menu, and it seems to be a bit more ambitious and interesting than it has been in a long time. Soooo... anyone been there this summer and sampled the new menu? Very curious. Still holding out for Craft to come out it's dark period and back into light where it previously was (and rightly deserved for a while anyways).
                        Thanks all!!

                        1. re: SarahM

                          We went to one of their "winemaker" dinners in June, and I have to say that it was really very good, much better than my last couple of experiences there. The hors d'oeuvres and first courses were much more imaginative than I had come to expect, and the execution was spot-on. The quality of ingredients - meat, produce, etc. - had never wavered. But it was very exciting to see that they seemed to be back on their game. Maybe not quite what it was when Accarino was at the helm, but definitely a place to which I'll return. Service, as always, was professional and seamless. Someone below made a negative comment about the noise level, to which I respond, huh? One thing Craft has always had going for it is that it's actually possible to hold a conversation there.

                      2. I'm glad to see that I'm not alone in disliking this restaurant. My one experience was underwhelming and that was back in '08. This past week we were being treated to lunch in the same complex. I fully expected our host to suggest Craft, but instead we dined at Breezes in the Century Plaza. When I mentioned that I had thought that he would suggest Craft, he assured me that he didn't care for the food, family style dining (w/o the family) or the noise level. Definitely not somewhere that he wants to have a business lunch!
                        After reading comments here, I'm glad that he chose Breezes. Their varied menu and good food (if not epicurean) was excellent. I especially loved their vanilla SORBET.

                        It fascinates me that Tom Colicchio can critique the Top Chef contestants' food but not his own!

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: compucook

                          Wow, will need to try Breezes next time I am in the area - esp for that vanilla sorbet. Sounds excellent.

                          1. re: compucook

                            Wow, Breeze most have undergone a metamorphosis since I last visited it two years ago and gave it my vote for the worst upscale restaurant in Los Angeles.

                            As to Craft, I have been twice this summer -- once for dinner and once for lunch. I did not enjoy it as much as when it was at its peak, but the room is still beautiful and the service superb. I think they have been really hurt by the economy. There is a lot of office space sitting empty in Century City and fewer customers, which I think makes it difficult for an upscale restaurant to really thrive.

                            P.S. I have had plenty of business meals at Craft and privacy or noise have never been a problem.