On the suggestion of Adam, and my love of Top Chef, I decided to try out Craft, Tom Colicchio's restaurant in Manhattan. I was already going to NYC for the weekend to visit Dennis, so I decided that it would be the perfect time. We both enjoy a good dinner and splurging on a fun place every once in a while. We had 9:30 reservations (late for even me), but I was excited so I didn't really care.
We arrived at Craft exactly at 9:30. The decor was very clean, and above the bar was a small catwalk with all there wines prominently selected. The walls were decorated with what looked like large overlapping pieces of leather panelling. A very good looking and well dressed host told us our table was almost ready and we should go ahead and have a drink at the bar. We did, trying out a couple of Rieslings. Close to 10pm our table was ready, and we sat in the back along a banquet with a few other tables.
Our server was very nice, professional and friendly. Gave a laid back feeling to the experience, which I didn't initially expect given the price point of the menu. We stared with a bottle of 2005 Austrian dry Riesling. Very good. Sweet, but not too sweet, which was a good compromise between Dennis' like of dry wine, and my liking for basically apple juice.
I'm always a fan of good tasting menu, but after reviewing that it has two desserts, we decided to go a la carte. For our first course we shared an heirloom tomato salad and the cured octopus. The octopus was clean and well prepared. I'm used to calamari, so it was a treat to just have octopus, not deep fried in batter. It was, however, a very small piece. Basically two bites eats. The salad was phenomenal. Adam suggested the salad and it didn't disappoint. I was surprised because they were basically just tomatoes, but they were well seasoned. I enjoyed the white tomatoes the best although Dennis said they all tasted the same.
Our main course was where we went with our old standby. Steak. Instantly being drawn the the phrase "28 day dry aged" we decided to try the "Cote de beouf." I probably spelled that incorrectly, but it's not on the online menu, so I couldn't verify. We also wanted to have a side of mushrooms, but couldn't decide on which to try. We almost choose "Hen of the Woods" based on the fun name alone. We asked our server and she simply said, "How about I give you a sampling of the first four?" Perfect. We had an assortment of oyster, baby shitake (not from Beverly, for our Catherine Tate fans) , Hen of the Woods, and Trompette Royale. Since the steak was prepared to share, it was served sliced into six long strips, and I can probably honest say it was THE BEST STEAK I'VE EVER HAD. Seasoned to perfection with what seemed like a simple salt-pepper mix, it was so good, and so refreshing, which is an odd word to use for red meat, but that's what I thought when I ate it. Refreshing. I wanted a second steak all to myself. I really hope I haven't ruined my future steak experiences! The mushrooms were slightly crispy and their earthy palate really complimented the steak perfectly.
After the steak, Dennis' cousin Christina showed up and we decided to get a second bottle of Riesling. We went with with the 2003 vintage this time vs the previous 2005, and thought it a lot crisper and dryer, while still retaining it's sweetness. Christina and I got a sampling of gellato and sorbets. Our flavors were green apple, blackberry chocolate chip, caramel, concord grape, coconut, and olive oil. Can you guess which we chose first? Olive Oil! Delicious.
Sitting down at 10pm, we paid the bill and left at 12:45. We were one of three tables left. Our server was fun and amazing, thanking us and as we left we were given a homemande fresh zucchini muffin. I've never gone to dinner so long that they gave you a breakfast treat as you left, but I guess that's New York. I will I could tell you how the muffin was, but after our debaucherous evening that followed, I think I left it at a place called Cibar, a fun little bar Christina took us too.
I'm not sure it was touristy or not, but I very much enjoyed my meal, and would recommend Craft to anyone going to the city for an evening and wishing to have a truly good meal. Good job, Tom. You do not have to pack up your knives and go.