Archive for the 'Craftbar – Century City' Category

Craft Bar

For some reason we haven’t been back to Craft Bar in a very long time. What a mistake on our part. We like eating in the Craft Bar rather than their more formal restaurant Craft as we can order from the Bar menu and Craft menu. Our first big surprise was to see Gustavo one of our favorite front of the house staff who we have known for years dating back to Spago. He was terrific! The rest of the front of the house team – Matt, Keith and Jeff were also very helpful, courteous and absolutely gracious.

Craft - white wine

White wine from their list – John had a martini first – not pictured

Craft - amuse

Amuse – duck rillette on crackers

Craft - oysters

Oysters – Ram Island (CT), Dark Beach Light (Washington) WildFire Island (NY) with some sea beans

Craft - bread

Bread Service – Dark Molasses and White Country from La Brea Bakery

Craft - halbut ceviche

Halibut Ceviche with Avocado – this was from the Craft menu and it was terrific

Craft - hushpuppies

Cheddar Hushpuppies and smoked maple syrup – from the bar menu and we remembered how much we liked them – delicious

Craft - calamari

Calamari, spinach, chorizo and raisins – from the Craft menu and another winner

Craft wine

BYO Wine

Craft - quail

Roasted Quail – also from the Craft menu – shown a tiny piece as we devoured the portion

Craft - flatbread

Flatbread with fontina and wild mushrooms- from the Craftbar menu – another just one piece pictured as we devoured this portion

An absolute winner and we will definitely return.

 

Craft – Century City

We normally eat in the bar area and love it there. For some reason, we were seated at a large booth in the main dining room at Craft. Most people would be thrilled, but to be honest we love the casual fun atmosphere of the bar area much more.

Craft room

Craft dining room

Craft room 1

 

Craft room 3

 

To the credit of Stacy, the new GM, she allowed us to order from the Craftbar menu in the main dining room. Stacy’s comment – At Craft, we don’t know the meaning of rules and never use the word “no.” In other words, Craft is all about service.

 

Stacy

Stacy, the new GM

 

David and Krug

David with our BYO Krug Chamapagne

 

Gustavo

Gustavo

 

kelley

Kelly

 

Zachary

Zachary

 

A first rate front of the house team.

 

Gazpacho

Amuse – Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with croutons and celery dust on top – excellent and perfect on a hot summer night

 

Oysters

Kumamoto and Kusshi Oysters – I don’t use any sauce – just slurp

 

white wine

BYO White Wine

 

Raw Fish

Kona Kampachi, Proscuitto, Pine Nuts and Aged Balsamic – we have had this before – sashimi quality fish, great crunch from the pine nuts, a fruit accent to the fish and proscuitto plus a touch of acidity from the balsamic.

 

bread

Pumpernickel Bread – terrific

 

calamari

Calamari and White Anchovy – this was the only miss of the evening – the white anchovy was a tapenade and basically added little or no flavor. The calamari was tough and no where near the equal of the calamari on a prior visit.

 

calamari good

From a prior visit – Calamari, ramps and sea beans – this was served warm with a lemon olive oil dressing – calamari were excellent, perfectly cooked – I hope the photo tells the story between this calamari and the one above.

 

egg

Crispy Farm Egg, Salmon eggs, Cucumber, Frisee – this was the dish of the evening, absolutely sensational and I would return just for this. A crispy outer shell of the egg, lightly breaded and deep-fried (I am guessing panko, but I don’t know), with a runny yolk, pop in your mouth salmon eggs, creme fraiche, tiny cubes of cucumber sitting on a bed of frisee. My husband had visions of ordering 2 more and then returning for 2 more tomorrow. I will wait to see what excuse he gives me that he is having a business lunch at Craft this week.

 

red wine

BYO Red Wine

 

pate

Country Pate, Pickled carrots, Mustard – the pate has been improved since our last visit and is definitely on a par with Walter Manske’s at Church and State.

 

pate first time

The pate from a prior visit – I hope you can see how much better the new version is.

 

Bread for the pate

Bread for the pate – the pate was so good that I ignored the bread and the mustard.

 

sausage

Red Wine Sausage, Polenta, Garlic Puree – excellent

 

 

sorbet

Palate Cleanser – note taking went downhill so I don’t have a clue

 

hush

Anson Mills Hushpuppies and Smoked Maple – decided to have these for dessert, although they are an appetizer – back on track with the hushpuppies.

We will definitely return to Craft, but really only want to sit in the bar – more fun, very casual and I guess just our preferred vibe.

Craftbar – Century City

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+++++. 

Peter

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.

 

Gustavo

Equally wonderful Gustavo Tadeo – Gustavo is a wonder man who used to spoil us at Spago. He is worth his weight in gold. 

 

Kelly

Kelly, our server, we met for the first time and you can see from her face that her enthusiasm is infectious.

 

zacharaY

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.

 

champagne

Aperitif – Champagne

 

Oysters

Kumamoto, Kusshi, Malpeque Oysters on the half shell – I don’t use anything but lemon on my oysters and slurp them – no fork!  Excellent.

 

hamachi

Japanese Hamachi, Prosciutto, Figs, Pine Nuts and Aged Balsamic – sashimi grade hamachi – another really good dish.

 

frisee salad

Baby Dandelion Salad, Frisee, Pecorino Crumbled Croutons, Capers, Caper Dressing  - good, but basically a salad of greens

 

BYO white wine

BYO White Wine

 

bread

The pumpernickel anise bread is incredible

 

artichoke

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

 

salmon

Lahvosh with smoked salmon rillettes in the jar (barely pictured) The salmon had a decidely smoky taste and had been pureed with rosemary

 

sausage

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.

 

pate

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.

 

pasta

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.

 

John dory

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.

 

octopus

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.

 

octopus 1

Close-up of the Octopus

 

hushpuppies

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 hushpuppies

Inside of the Hushpuppies

 

June 11 huspuppies

First time we had the hushpuppies that were absolutely perfect

 

dessert 1

Beignets with Honey and Chocolate Dip – unlike the hushpuppies, these were light and not at all doughy.

 

alldeseerts

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.

Craftbar – Century City

We have decided to make Wednesday, date lunch day. It becomes our one meal for the day so no cooking for me! Yipppeee!!! Craftbar is the lower cost, tapas-style restaurant of Tom Colicchio’s Century City restaurant, Craft. All items are priced between $6.00 and $9.00. You can order the Craftbar menu in the bar and lounge and also on the outside patio. You also have the option of ordering from the Craft menu as well.

 

room

The bar area

room at Craft 1

Another view of the bar area

 

bread at Craft 1

Bread Basket with La Brea rustic French bread and Pumpernickel bread with anise

pump

The pumpernickel bread is stupendous.

 

white wine

White wine

 

Hushpuppies

Anson Mills Hushpuppies and smoked maple syrup  - There were 9 hushpuppies in the order – a bargain at $6.00 per order plus delicious.

 

calamari

Calamari, ramps and sea beans – this was served warm with a lemon olive oil dressing – calamari were excellent, perfectly cooked

 

sea urchin

Sea Urchin Panna Cotta, Cherry Tomatoes and Basil. I liked this better than John, but if I compare it to Picholine’s version, Picholine wins hands down. However the price point of $6.00 to $12.00 is basically an unfair comparison.

 

Picholine uni panna cotta 

 Picholine’s Sea Urchin Panna Cotta with chilled aspic of lobster stock consommé, topped with Oscetra caviar.

 

hamachi

Japanese Hamachi, Fig, prosciutto, Pine nuts and Aged Balsamic – another excellent dish

 

flatbread

Flatbread with Fontina, La Quercia Proscuito and Baby asparagus tips cut on the bias – a very generous portion at $9.00

 

lobsster roll

Smoked bacon and lobster roll – when we ate this with the top brioche bun, there was just too much roll relative to the lobster.

 

lobster roll 1

It was much, much better as an open-faced sandwich

 

pork - Craft

Suckling Pig Ballotine and Apricot

 

pasta - Craft

Cavatelli, Rabbit Confit and House Made Ricotta – this was horrible – the pasta was pasty and gluey and overcooked. To their credit, we were not charged for this dish.

 

pasta from valentino

Perfect pasta from Vin Bar.

 

duck burger

duck burger - cut

Duck Burger and Dried Fruit Mostarda – crispy duck with the fruit adding a nice element

Over-all an excellent meal with a couple of misses. The service was excellent – Alex, the bartender handled our wine and food ordering and Jorge, the busser recognized us from Spago and was equally as competent. This is not fine dining or haute cuisine – it is homey food in a casual setting.


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