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May 22, 2012 04:59 AM

Craft or Ciano --- Balthazar or DBGB

Please help finalize choices. We are in New York for graduation weekend, and have lunch Friday at Le Bernardin and lunch Saturday at Per Se. Reservations Thursday night at both Craft and Ciano and reservations Sunday night at both Balthazar and DBGB. And today I am going to confirm the reservations we will use and cancel those we will not for Thursday and Sunday nights. Any thoughts on Craft versus Ciano and Balthazar versus DBGB. Thanks for your help.

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  1. The food at both Craft and Ciano is delicious. However, the cuisiines are entirely different, so I would suggest you decide based on whether you would prefer to have contemporary American vs. contemporary Italian. Also, the food at Craft is served family-style vs. individually plated at Ciano. If you choose Ciano, the chicken for two cooked in a clay pot (it can serve more) is not to be missed.

    Craft photos:

    Ciano photos:

    Balthazar and DBGB are, of course, both French brasseries. We've enjoyed the food at both. I've not been to DBGB when it's busy (our one time there was for a late lunch), so I don't know how noisy it can get. But we have been to Balthazar when it's been jammed, and it gets LOUD making conversation rather difficult.

    Balthazar photos:

    DBGB photos:

    1. Regarding Balthazar and DBGB, I've been to both recently and would personally favor Balthazar if you needed to choose one.

      Both were quite loud in the evening but overall I enjoyed both the food and the atmosphere at Balthazar more so than at DBGB. Either way though, you'll have a great time I'm sure.

      1. Thanks, RGR and r32nissan, for your help. We've decided on Craft and Balthazar. Any menu suggestions or not to miss items?

        8 Replies
          1. re: susimon

            We loved the Balthazar salad, the escargot, and the onion soup. The foie gras mousse dish (I cannot recall exactly what it was) is also excellent.

            All of the raw bar is excellent. We had the Grande and it was exceptional. Let us know how you went!

            1. re: r32nissan

              Another vote here for Balthazar salad. I think the place is "pretty good" overall- but that salad is one of the real standouts for me.

            2. re: susimon

              At Craft, try the crispy bacon, the sweetbreads, the roasted scallops, the short ribs, roasted mushroom medley (off menu), potato gratin, or any of the pastas.

              1. re: kathryn

                I'm hungry just reading those recommendations...Whilst I cannot vouch for it, I've heard the cote de beouf (for 2 - which would likely feed 3-4) is excellent here if you like dry aged beef. I've yet to try it, but it is definitely on my list (which continues to have more places and dishes put on, then I have time or money to remove).

                  1. re: kathryn

                    We had dinner at Craft on Mother's Day. Highlights were the beet salad, scallops & short ribs, and all of the vegetable sides we tried, including the mushroom medley. The baby carrots and, interestingly, the bok choy, were also really well-received.

                    I've had the crispy bacon on two visits now, and I wasn't as wowed by it as some other posters were.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      I was at Craft for an anniversary celebration, and the short ribs, hen of the woods mushrooms and potato puree were excellent. I also tried a braised halibut dish that was very good, as well as the beet salad.

                  2. FYI, to the cranky chowhounds, graduation is the weekend of June 15. Thanks to everyone else for your help.