We actually like Craftbar better than the formal dining room at Craft. Our preference is for small plates of a lot of different tastes and Craftbar fits that style of dining perfectly. Also, you can order from the regular Craft menu at Craftbar, but can’t order the Craftbar menu at Craft ; in other words you have the best of both worlds.
The service at Craftbar/Craft is super A+++++.
Wonderful Peter Carillo
Peter Carillo was our favorite waiter at Providence – his knowledge, his graciousness, his warmth, his hospitality – there is no one better. Peter is now the service director at Craft/Craftbar and he has assembled an incredible team. Under his leadership, the service is extraordinary.
Equally wonderful Gustavo Tadeo – Gustavo is a wonder man who used to spoil us at Spago. He is worth his weight in gold.
Kelly, our server, we met for the first time and you can see from her face that her enthusiasm is infectious.
Zachary Steinback was stuck with us toward the end of the evening. It turns out we both grew up in Newton, Mass and I insisted that he go to Neptune’s Oyster for fried clams the next time he is in Boston.
As you can see this was quite a line-up of super FOH staff. (Not pictured is Dana who was also wonderful).
Originally, I had worked out a menu from their web site, but Peter suggested that we just leave the decisions to him and we basically did.
Aperitif – Champagne
Kumamoto, Kusshi, Malpeque Oysters on the half shell – I don’t use anything but lemon on my oysters and slurp them – no fork! Excellent.
Japanese Hamachi, Prosciutto, Figs, Pine Nuts and Aged Balsamic – sashimi grade hamachi – another really good dish.
Baby Dandelion Salad, Frisee, Pecorino Crumbled Croutons, Capers, Caper Dressing - good, but basically a salad of greens
BYO White Wine
The pumpernickel anise bread is incredible
Artichoke Salad, Frisee, Cashews, Parmesan – the artichokes had been marinated with Dijon. A much better salad than just the greens – more substance displaying more culinary technique
Lahvosh with smoked salmon rillettes in the jar (barely pictured) The salmon had a decidely smoky taste and had been pureed with rosemary
Pork Sausage poached in Red Bordeaux from the Right Bank, Charred Pineapple, Broken Vinaigrette – the sausage was in a word delicious and the charred pineapple a wonderful “fruit” note to the pork.
Country Pate (Pork and Chicken Liver wrapped with Bacon on the outside), Pickled Crosnes and Baby Carrots, Mustard, Croutons. Crosnes are also known as Chinese artichokes or chorogi. It is a perennial root vegetable and a member of the mint family. Good charcuterie, almost on a par with Church and State.
Ricotta Agnolotti and Eggplant Caviar- unlike the pasta we had had before at Craftbar, this was cooked al dente with a lovely pillowy filling of creamy house-made ricotta.
Roasted John Dory, Picholine Olive, Shaved Radish, Crushed Potatoes with Agrumato Olive Oil – the John Dory was superb, but the crushed potatoes with the olive oil was just an “OH MY” accompaniment.
Peruvian Octopus and Greek Yoghurt with Chickpea Panisse – This was the one dish that I asked to try. What a mistake. The octopus was absolutely horrible – more like shoe leather. I had Peter take a look and asked him to try it in the kitchen to see if maybe I was wrong. I was right, somebody goofed and the octopus was taken off the menu for the night.
Close-up of the Octopus
Anson Mills Hushpuppies and Smoked Maple Syrup – this just wasn’t as good as the first time we had them. For some reason these were too doughy and heavy.
Inside of the Hushpuppies
First time we had the hushpuppies that were absolutely perfect
Beignets with Honey and Chocolate Dip – unlike the hushpuppies, these were light and not at all doughy.
On the far right chocolate pudding, chocolate chip cookie and white chocolate, in the middle Bing Cherries with GrandMarnier, left the Beignets
We will definitely go back to Craftbar and can’t wait to see the FOH staff again, particuarly Peter.