Cracco Milan- Any recent thoughts
Sorry to have been unclear re the "hovering." It wasn't restaurant staff who were hovering, it was the customers' private tour guides, brought in with them but not invited to sit (let alone eat), and not only dressed inappropriately but wearing bulky backpacks as they wandered back and forth endlessly between their clients' table and ours, sometimes almost hitting us in the face with the backpacks. It was an appalling experience, like eating in the picnic table area at the canteen in a public park.
I went there in May. Very favourably impressed; they certainly bend over backwards to accommodate your requests. Chowtraveler, it's too bad you didn't go, because while they do have creative dishes, they also offer a full selection of Milanese classics. Indeed, I had bresaola, risotto alla Milanese, and costoletta alla Milanese while there. The risotto was the standout, BY FAR the best I've ever had anywhere. Really, their version has to be the definitive one for Milan.
Meanwhile, it left plenty of room for experimentation with more creative dishes as well, some of which were real standouts. Some fried vegetable crisps, almost like a deconstructed version of fritti, again were in the category of a dish I'll never forget.
Service does tend towards the hovering. You have to get used to that - I find that actually the hovering style is rather typical of Milan, so it's sort of an exaggeration of what in any case is a regional trend.
You will pay a LOT for the experience, so brace yourself. My bill came out at €180 per person, exclusive of wine. Depending on what wines you select it could run to €300 per person or more. However, it is definitely destination-worthy.
Our only experience there was for two nights last month. We considered but ruled out Cracco because of its reputation as highly innovative, whereas we wanted to sample the traditional regional cuisine. Had a fine but expensive meal at Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia, which is a moderately long taxi ride from the centro. Less expensive but also excellent, with some innovative elements, was Al Pont de Ferr in the Navigli district.
This may be a good place to mention our two complaints about Aimo e Nadia. First, the captain gave the impression of intense disinterest when answering questions about the menu, repeatedly diverting himself to deal with questions from or conduct whispered conversations with waitstaff. We also were first offered the worst table in the restaurant, in a bare side room in front of a disused elevator door, even though we were on the early side (for Milano) and the place was almost totally empty.
Second, the establishment allowed a party of six Asians at the next table to have their private tour guides (two of them) stand hovering and circling around the table, still wearing their bulky backpacks (and dressed accordingly, complete with athletic shoes), for a least half an hour to translate and explain the menu, after which the tour guides simply left. This even though the table was large enough for the tour guides to sit down, however briefly, if their clients had allowed them to do so. Any sense of elegance in the ristorante was destroyed by this bizarre behavior.