Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Craftbar Review

I see nearly every meal as an opportunity to squeeze out a visit to a new place. But there are times when I just need a trusted standby to go back to, someplace I can rely on without thinking or that I can recommend in a pinch. I find myself returning often to Craftbar, one of Tom Colicchio's restaurants in the Flatiron district. It's casual but with a nice atmosphere — there's room between the tables so you can comfortably have a conversation without feeling like everyone around you is participating in it. The prices are reasonable and there's a wide range of foods that should suit most palates. And it has a nice cocktail menu as well if you're looking for more than just wine or beer. The only drawback on a couple of visits was an overenthusiastic waiter. Here was one recent meal.

 Polenta Fritters, JalapeƱo, Golden Raisin.
These were a bit like hush puppies. The jalapeƱos gave the fritters a nice kick.

Heirloom Tomato, Fines Herbes, Aged Balsamic.
This was a large portion of various sweet tomatoes.

Confit Berkshire Pork Shoulder, Tomato Molasses, Smoked Pearl Onion.
The pork was sweet and almost like barbecue and served like the Korean dish, bo ssam.

Beet Casunziei,Wild Spinach, Brown Butter, Poppy Seed.
I really liked the use of beets in this dish; if you order this, you'd better be a fan because the flavor is fairly strong. Don't let the bright pink turn you away.

Ricotta Cheese Cake, Lemon Curd, Concord Grape Sorbet.
The waiter declared this to be the best ricotta cheese cake around. While it was much different than I expected — it was custardy and had no crust — it was quite good. And the grape sorbet sealed it for me. (But I still think Artisanal has the best ricotta cheese cake.)

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