Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NYC 2008: Craft

I must admit the idea of a famous celebrity restaurant wasn’t the most appealing to me, I’m more into fabulous hole-in-the-wall joints, places that are surprisingly impressive. But as with many curious fans of Top Chef (I’m sure), I thought it would be fun to check out Craft by Tom Colicchio, especially after seeing ‘ravings’ by Andrew Zimmern on his blog.

Still, we weren’t hungry (especially after munching on nachos at a Mexican restaurant while drinking sugary margaritas). But we figured the experience will be interesting, and at least we won’t overly spend.

The restaurant is intimate, spacious, with elegantly simple décor – haven’t been in a restaurant that made me feel so perfectly comfortable in a while. The service was top notch – friendly, unpretentious, very knowledgeable, great recommendations, timely, and not overwhelming. Impressively made us feel relaxed instead of awkward (being in a nice restaurant).

Two slices of bread each were presented to us – I sincerely appreciate bread services by single portions and strongly feel that restaurants should be banned from breadbaskets (what a waste of food!) I’m not a huge fan of bread served at room temp…I prefer mine to feel like it came fresh from the oven. Altho the bread tasted fresh and moist, I wasn’t very into it.

As lovers of raw oysters, I asked her to pick out oysters for us (2 each). I told her we like the fishy & strong ocean taste. At $3 a piece, our oysters were extremely delicious and fresh. They were so creamy and refreshing we wanted to order a dozen (or so) more.

As a girl that was born and raised (til 7 yrs old) in Tapei, Taiwan – I grew up eating intestines, glands, tongues, and brains… so upon hearing how unbelievable Sweetbreads are, I did not hesitate giving it a try. For those unfamiliar, there are two kinds of sweetbreads: one made by young animal (usually lamb or calf)’s pancreas (stomach/belly) or neck (throat/gullet/thymus gland). Indeed this was creamy and delicious in the center and perfectly crispy on top, reminded me of foie gras. $16 appetizer portion was more than enough to share.

For main courses, we decided to go with the $30 Dayboat Diver Scallops and Fish Special (I believe it was trout). The scallops were PERFECTLY flavored and made – plump, silky, meaty. We absolutely loved the crispy exterior and each slice within the scallops. Since we weren't hungry, the proportion was perfect, but if this was my main course, I might feel slightly cheated.

The fish was fresh and flaky, flavored nicely too.

As for side dish, we went with the assorted roasted mushrooms – at $24 it was overly expensive, but delicious nonetheless.

An unmemorable dessert cookie was given to us:
Then a lemon spritzer was the intermezzo to clear our palate before dessert. We barely ever order dessert, but I read ravings about the amazing Doughnuts – so we had to give it a try ($12).

Indeed… the best doughnuts we’ve ever had. Crispy, lightly sugared, chewy center, with multiple layers… non –greasy, perfect by itself but indulgence increased with dipping of chocolate and/or raspberry sauce.

The experience ended with a coffee cake muffin, nicely packaged for us to take home “as a late night snack or breakfast in the morning”.

Hub and I brought it all the way back to Chicago to enjoy Monday morning – wow. What a moist and deliciously fluffy muffin… confirmed my intention to visit Craft again – perhaps in LA.

43 E. 19th St.

Cross Street
: Park Avenue South and Broadway


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