Craft, Blue Hill or Mas?
We live in New York and go out quite a bit but I'm completely at a loss where to go for my husband's birthday. The problem is we've been to a LOT of restaurants!! Looking to make a 9pm ressie for Sunday night, I've narrowed it down to three we have never been to:
Craft - he loves Tom Collichio though we were horribly disappointed by a recent dinner at Collichio and Sons. The menu looks great but I'm undecided..
Blue Hill - I know this is a must-go at some point but not sure if this is birthday-worthy. From the photos it looks a little stuffy and boring...
Mas - never heard of this place until walked by it recently and it looked cute and romantic. Looked it up on Zagat and it gets a 27. The photos look romantic and sweet but not so sure about the menu.
If you've been to all three, please rate them in order on the following: food, romantic, and overall atmosphere/special experience.
I have been to all three many times, and I like them all. I think for this occasion you will be happiest at Craft. You are right that Blue Hill is not so celebratory, and it can be inconsistent - of all three, Blue Hill is the one that has disppointed me on occasion. Mas is good but the tables are very close together and not big enough and it can get a bit loud when it's full. Craft is a beautiful, casually elegant room. The food is excellent, the tables are a good size, and not too close together, and service is very pleasant and the noise level is always okay. The wine list is terrific, and many of the dishes on the menu are share-able which is in itself romantic (and expected at this restaurant). I love the design of the room and I have never had a bad meal there in all the years I've been going. And it's definitely birthday-worthy.
Here's the current menu at Craft. I think it's terrific. I had the suckling pig recently and it was wonderful. And that kitchen has a great touch with vegetables. And I always love their braised or roasted meats. Beautifully done.
I would actually vote for MAS. I love Craft and MAS, probably equally, but I think Craft is actually better when you're with a larger group. Because they are smaller plates, when you're with at least four people, you can taste a wide variety of their dishes and it really makes for a great experience.
MAS on the other hand has served me and my wife some unbelievable meals. We like to sit at the bar, and you can design your own tasting menu. It is spectacular and in that great are of Greenwich Village West that is just a fun neighborhood. Thats where I would go.
ive been to all three and cant really recommend any of them.
foodwise: craft, blue hill, mas
romantic: mas, blue hill, craft
overall specialness: craft, blue hill, mas
i was never wowed by the food at any of these places. i wanted to like mas the most due to the intimacy of the place but the food was uninspired and there were a lack of choices.
for special occasions, i tend to go to either classic restaurants or real unique ones. in that regard, id steer you to gotham bar and grill or brooklyn fare...both exceptional places in both food and memorable times. though brooklyn fare is far from romantic with other people at the table.
Sadly, I have found Craft to be declining since I first went there in 8 years ago this month. The service has been spotty at best, as the prices seemed to climb with Collichio's fame. Often, the food is only OK, with my medium rare chicken the latest misfire. Other than the old favorites for dessert (donuts, brioche pain perdue), i just didn't get the more complicated ones. The flavors were just too bizarre.
thank you for all the suggestions and opinions. Reporting back, we actually ended up going to MAS and it was fantastic! This is officially our new favorite restaurant in New York!!! Before then it was Lupa which is still up there but this place was just perfect. The atmosphere was pleasant, romantic and the staff were incredible which is always a big one for me. The service overall was spectacular and we felt like we were in a 5-star restaurant without the stuffiness - which was exactly the reason we wanted to avoid all the "big" names. The 4-course tasting menu was the perfect amount of food and we loved that you cold mix and match items from the regular menu. Every single thing we had was delicious, complex and cooked perfectly. A nice touch at the end - the staff must have overheard me saying "happy birthday" to my husband during dinner because they came out with a candle in the desert we ordered at the end. The four-course tasting menu is only 68 dollars and includes an appetizer, two half-entries and desert. On top of that they had an amuse-buche and a mini-desert on top of the desert that we ordered.
Favorite items on the menu: citrus-cured arctic char appetizer, monkfish medallions, truffle guinea hen stuffed with escargots, hazlenut mousse with salt caramel ice cream for desert and if you're getting cheese you must try the Rogue River blue.
I definitely recommend this place for any special occasion or if you want to impress your date!