Craftbar, New York

I was planning to meet my consultant friends Radhika, Melissa and Stephanie at the Tabla Bread Bar for drinks and snacks. I love that place, but you can read more about that on an earlier post (Indian Food Day in NYC). I got there and was informed that the Bread Bar was closed for a private party. I was so looking forward to another pulled lamb naanini. So now what? We asked one of the waiters for a recommendation and he suggested the Tavern at Gramercy Tavern. We walked over in the bitter cold just to be told that it was over an hour’s wait. I have a general rule that I won’t wait more then 20 minutes. I hate waiting and 20 minutes is the limit of my tolerance. I asked the hostess for a recommendation and she suggested we go to Craftbbar round the corner on Broadway.

It was too cold to keep walking around looking for a place, but we were in luck. They had 1 table that could accommodate the 4 of us. The place had a nice buzz about it. It’s tastefully decorated and had a nice bar like casual feel, despite this being a serious food place. What else would you expect from a Tom Colicchio owned place? Talking about Tom Colicchio, my first wow with food came some years ago when I had dinner at Gramercy Tavern when Tom was still the chef there. The whole experience was just amazing. I really don’t have alot of wow places so that’s an experience I haven’t forgotten.

Let’s start with service. We waited an inordinate time to order our drinks and  then our food. And the drinks that came had to be sent back because they were just bad. I had ordered the Craft Margarita and it was sickly sweet. Stephanie’s cocktail too was all wrong. I think she had ordered a ginger martini. It seemed that they mixed up the ingredients for our drinks. The replacements were way better.

Fortunately the food was much better then the service. We ordered a bunch of snacks to share, including:

– Mushroom bruschetta – excellent

– Pecorina stuffed risotto balls – really interesting  though a little overwhelmed by the cheese flavor

– Chickpea Fries – nice taste though not crazy about the texture

– Cheese assortment – good recommendations from our waiter

– Charcuterie – assortment of meats – you reallyt can’t go wrong here

– Beet salad with blue cheese and candied walnuts – very good. It seems like this is on the menu everywhere nowadays. I’ve had it at Coccola and Witherspoon Grill (both in NJ).

BTW, the bread sticks are wonderful. I try to stay low carb but couldn’t resist.

We shared the brown sugar cake with cinnamon ice cream. Nice way to finish the meal.

Couple areas that need improvement include the restrooms – they seen a little below par. Also, I think the wait staff (the men) need shirts that are 1 or 2 sizes larger. I am okay with men wearing tight shirts, but I really don’t want to see the bulge of the stomachs while I am eating. Enough to make you want to skip dessert altogether. Fortunately I am not squimish.

Overall this is a decent place to have drinks and snacks with friends after work, but not really somewhere I would go out of my way to visit. Bread Bar is still my standard and Carftbar has some ways to go.

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