For my father’s birthday, I had the opportunity to finally get to Chef Tom Colicchio’s Craft restaurant ~ a funky space on 19th Street with huge leather panels adorning the walls and a massive glass-walled wine cellar in which the bottles recline in draped mesh holders.  As a long-time admirer of Top Chef, (not only do I love the challenges and creativity but I think Tom is awesome) I was really excited to test out his cuisine.  

Let’s start with the cocktails (of course…) as there was a really creative list.  The Bee Sting is a very strong, gingery mix of Maker's Mark, fresh ginger (the culprit), cardamom-honey syrup (so interesting), and Regan's orange bitters.  If you like ginger, it’s for you, especially with the crystallized ring as garnish.  The other (which was more my preference) was the American Beauty, complete with apple infused Tito's vodka, apple schnapps, Laird's applejack, cinnamon syrup, tobacco bitters (crazy, right?)  I am not an apple martini kind of girl, but this was like a potent apple cider and really delicious.

The fresh breads on the table were tasty, but what was really special were the complimentary amuse they brought.  Each on its own spoon, the other members of the party were given a bite of citrus cured mackerel (about which everyone, including my son, raved) and for me there was a warm bite of vegetable broth braised artichoke with carrots and pearl onion…so simple and so good.

The salads included options like frisee and hazelnut and lardons (yes, they can leave them off) and beets in tarragon that was very refreshing.  Then there were other veggie options like roasted Tokyo turnips, baby carrots (tender and sweet without being too candied) and shishito peppers in a maple glaze that were really wonderful.  They had a little bit of fire and just the right amount of salty and sweet to balance it all.  I also tried the sautéed bok choy ~ tasty but common.  Some of the menu choices seem deceptively vegan, so if you go, specify your needs so you don’t wind up with something cooked in chicken stock or butter.

All of the desserts looked wonderful, and I enjoyed the two non-dairy sorbets I ordered – a pineapple basil and a honey roasted pear.  The first had a slightly perfume-y taste but yet subtle enough to enjoy, and the pear was far more decadent than I expected.  Overall, this was all I hoped it would be ~ go Tom!


Veg and the City