Normally, Restaurant Week in NYC is a mishmash of menus that most times do not really reflect what the participating eateries offer on a daily basis, and many are mediocre at best. I have had my share of acceptable and below par experiences with this special week of dining deals, but sometimes one does come through to satisfy my gluttonous desires. A recent lunch at Craftbar left me actually wanting to come back here again. That is key to why these restaurants get involved with this – to make people come back and dine off the regular menus. It always makes me scratch my head as to why certain establishments refuse to put on the RW menu some of their better offerings, and eschew totally what their cuisine really is. Case in point – a steakhouse that refuses to place steak on the menu. If they do there is usually an extra surcharge of $7-$10 which kind of deflates the purpose. Lunch is $25 for three courses, and dinner $38 for three courses. It also makes me laugh when I see some of these places use the same menu for both. Why even bother if they’re not even going to make an effort. Mix it up a bit!
As I stated I had a pretty decent lunch at Craftbar for Summer Restaurant Week. Being that it was also a client lunch meeting I was ecstatic that they enjoyed it too. We were all satisfied with our meals.
Hey, whenever my fat ass can get a Blueberry Pistachio Crumb Tart w/Peach Ice Cream for dessert I am pretty damn happy!
As we were led to our table in the center of the dining room we were handed the RW lunch menus without even asking. I have been to a few spots in the past that tries to hide it or bury it within their normal menu. Not Craftbar as they had it up front, and it was the only menu they offered us which was fine by me as I was all set to try out a place I had never been to before. That is the beauty of a good RW menu. You get to sample some things off their regular menu without breaking the bank. Sure, some of the portions might be a bit smaller than usual, but for our lunch purposes it was appropriate and did not send us back to the office in a food coma. Nothing worse than coming back from lunch and wanting to crawl under your desk for a two hour nap! Hold my calls please!
I also have to say that the service here was top notch. Our waitress was outgoing and very helpful in offering a few suggestions. At times it seems that the staff hates RW and doesn’t want anything to do with it. Not here, as they have embraced it. It runs July 21 – August 15 so it’s only around a short time anyway. Good to see that they treat this as a worthwhile endeavor. As for my meal choices I think I made some tasty decisions.
I went with the Pecorino Risotto Balls w/Spicy Tomato Sauce and Parmigiano to start. Fabulous! Can I get three dozen to go and nibble at my desk the rest of the week?
As my main course I had the Skuna Bay Salmon w/Baby Red Mustard Greens, Shaved Market Vegetables, Lemon Purée, and Aged Balsamic dressing. Not too shabby. The salmon is a bit on the small side but a size that won’t give you a food baby going back to work. Cooked just right. They also had buttermilk fried chicken that one of my clients ordered and it looked terrific. Maybe next time.
For dessert I had that Blueberry Tart which made me want to shout out in glee. I’m a blueberry fanatic so this was perfect for me. Add in the ice cream and I was in pure bliss.
We also orderded the Shishito Peppers w/Persian Lime and Sea Salt to knosh on for the table. Also delish and they do have a hot kick so be warned if ever getting them.
Again, our service was impeccable. Seems like a well trained staff here.The atmosphere and decor is tasteful in a modern dark woodsy and playful way. More of an adult spot to bring a date, do a client meal, or meet up for a few cocktails.
Definitely one of those celebrity chef spots that delivers during Restaurant Week. Had a surprisingly terrific meal experience and would definitely try it again. Tom Colicchio earns his Top Chef status with this menu.