Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tom Colicchio's Craft

I really appreciate good food. I don't remember the last time I had such a thoroughly pleasant meal. I’ve been to quite a few restaurants that specialize in farm to table foods, but Craft is by far the most memorable dining experience where the freshness of the food is married happily to the chef’s flavors. In a nutshell, Craft is what you wished your pioneer American grandmother cooked like.

We started off with a half dozen Wellfleet and a half dozen Barron Points. They were both on the medium side, and I cannot over emphasize the freshness. They were served with a simple lemon and a vinegar concoction. The amuse bouche arrived shortly after, which was a blissful chilled corn and basil oil soup.

We then ordered several appetizers to share. My favorite was the butter lettuce and six minute egg, which was a simple salad topped with a breaded soft boiled egg. The egg was inexplicably delicious. The runny yolk all over my lettuce was divine. Another highlight was the suckling pig ballotine. If you like Chinese style roast pig, you will like this. It is crisped to perfection! The foie gras with peach was also a favorite. The foie gras was supple, and the tart notes of the peach balanced the fattiness of the liver.

For my entree, I ordered the eggplant and basil mezzaluna. For me, a mezzaluna is similar to a wonton because of the thin skin (read: I now understand Mistral’s crab ravioli). These mezzalunas in particular were beyond delicious. The mashed eggplant and basil were flavorful and aromatic, the skin was silky smooth, and the sauce was creamy but not overwhelming. So good. My brother and father shared the rib eye and bone marrow, which my brother said he preferred to Minetta Tavern’s monstrosity. My mother had a very tasty lamb loin, which was well seasoned and tender without any of the gamey flavor.

One of my favorite parts of dinner was actually the side dishes. Definitely get the braised corn; they’re sweet and creamy. I also really enjoyed the hen of the woods mushrooms, which were flavored nicely with some thyme. And my brother had many helpings of the potato gratin, which was quite rich.

Finally, for dessert, my brother predictably got the raspberry and lemon tart, which was a bit too sour for me, but that’s what he likes. My dad’s greek yoghurt panna cotta was good, but it would have been better if it were a smaller portion. I think the favorite was the peach-pecan cobbler. It’s like apple pie, but summer. I got it with salted honey ice cream, so needless to say, I was in my happy place. If only my parents had a bit more patience, then I could have tried the chocolate soufflé!

All in all, what a great dinner! I don’t remember the last time I had such a solid meal from beginning to end. The ingredients were simple, the food was of great quality, and it was all so delicious. I cannot wait to come back again! And okay, I understand that you probably do not have a pioneer American grandmother, but neither do I. But in my wildest dreams, this is what she cooked for me in my little house on the prairie.

Butter lettuce and six minute egg

30 day dry aged rib eye bone marrow 

Eggplant and basil mezzaluna

Raspberry and lemon tart

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