Craft

Craft

The BF took me out for our anniversary dinner last night at Craft. We’ve been meaning to go for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity. I didn’t get any pictures of our meal because it was dark inside and I didn’t want to be the douchebag with the giant camera in a nice restaurant.

Their menu is designed around sharing things family-style. Since I eat meat and the BF doesn’t, it made things a little complicated. Luckily, he called ahead to warn them of his dietary needs (or un-needs?) and they were very accommodating. Our waiter was really friendly with our questions without being too over-the-top or obnoxious.

I started off with a sea urchin and cucumber appetizer: several pieces of uni topped with a few pieces of diced cucumbers and some sort of dressing on top. The dressing could have been left out because the uni and cucumbers themselves were perfect. The uni was a deliciously savory melt-in-your-mouth bite of the ocean.

The BF had the fennel salad with pistachios. We were surprised by the serving size. There was definitely a lot of fennel in this salad. I thought it tasted pretty good, but the BF thought it tasted too lemony in a cloying way, like lemon meringue.

For the main dish, I had the Australian suzuki with a tomatillo sauce. I usually complain about fish being overcooked at non-Asian restaurants, but the fish at Craft was the best cooked fish I had at a western restaurant. Unfortunately, the fish’s flavor was so light that I couldn’t taste any of it thanks to the sauce. The tomatillo sauce was fantastic, but overpowered such a light-tasting fish. I did like the crispy skin they included on top.

The BF had a vegan risotto which we were both lukewarm on. It had a tomato base, which made it taste a bit weird, but what really threw us off was the texture. It wasn’t al dente but it still tasted underdone in a grainy or starchy kind of way. I guess it was a nice try that the restaurant tried to make made-to-order risotto since it usually takes such a long time to cook.

We shared some sides with our main courses which included roasted squash (good but nothing special), assorted mushrooms (also good but nothing we can’t do at home), and brussel sprouts. The brussel sprouts were amazing. They usually come with bacon, but even without the bacon, they were fantastic. They were perfectly cooked: not too mushy, not too dry, with a delicious roasty flavor. They also came with pearl onions which I thought balanced out the dish, but the BF didn’t care for.

For dessert I had the pumpkin brulee, which was a thin slice of pumpkin pie whose top was torched so that it was crunchy and hard like creme brulee. I’m not a big fan of pumpkin pie, so the small slice was fitting and the brulee really made it perfect for me. There was also torched marshmallow creme, which again I’m not a big fan of, but tasted great. The dessert also came with a scoop of sweet milk sorbet, which was super creamy and rich. The small scoop was definitely enough and anything more would be overkill.

The BF got a trio of sorbets: banana, persimmon, and quince. He seemed to like it. I only had a taste of the persimmon and quince. I thought the quince was too tart, but then again, I’m not a big fan of tart stuff. The persimmon was good and had none of the astringent taste you’d get from an unripe persimmon.

We drank a white Alban Viognier during our meal, which was really good. It was dry, but didn’t have that kind of off/chemical taste some white wines have. It tasted great by itself when we were just waiting for appetizers, and it tasted great with a bite of fish. It even tasted good after dessert.

I’m glad that we finally got to try Craft, even though I’m secretly a bit disappointed we didn’t see Tom Colicchio there. While the food was good, it wasn’t blow-us-away good, so maybe the price wasn’t that justified. The dining area is definitely interesting: a nice mix of modern and old-fashioned. If everything was cooked to the caliber of the brussel sprouts, we would have been in heaven.

Note to anyone who’s thinking of visiting Craft: There’s valet parking right in front, but if you drive a few yards past that, there’s a driveway into an underground parking lot that the restaurant will validate for. Might be a bigger value than paying $8 to valet your car.

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