Friday, May 6, 2011


Last Saturday we took our friend Roy out for a belated birthday celebration, and I got to pick where to go! I chose craft Tom Coliccio's contemporary American. I have been meaning to check it out for some time now, so this was the perfect opportunity. The meal was so tasty, the ingredients fresh, and the masterful balance or restraint rather in the use of seasonings, made for a memorable experience.

Located in Century City within a courtyard surrounded by high rise office buildings, craft screams power-lunch by day and fine-dining by night. Everything from the setting to the lighting and design was pleasant and comfortable. Now on to the food.
We started with the "Chefs Offering"
Creamy Burrata with Roasted Walnuts
and a touch of Pesto

Salad 1

Pea Tendrils with Burrata
Crisp and tangy the tendrils reminded me
of spinach and were surprisingly addictive.
They balanced the mildness and creaminess
of the Burrata nicely.

Salad 2
Baby Beet & Gorgonzola
Freshest beats ever. So sweet and and pure with
the rich flavor of the Gorgonzola.

The entire meal was awesome, and thanks to a slightly overcooked but delicious fish dish (I asked it be remade) we got to try the MOST INCREDIBLE GNOCCHI I HAVE EVER HAD. The waiter brought the side of gnocchi as a peace offering for the overcooked fish. I forgave instantly because the moment these buttery, fluffy, perfect pillows of cheesy potato goodness hit my mouth, I think I scared my dinner companions with my moaning. I kid you not, these were the most incredible Gnocchi I have ever had. One did not require teeth to eat these fluffy, soft and buttery offerings, gumming them would have been sufficient! I need a moment to regroup in order to tell you about the rest of the meal.

As with the starters, the main dishes and sides were once again indicative of "no frills, let the ingredients speak for themselves" perfect execution (with the exception of my fish which although took an extra time to execute in the end was to die for). The Loup de Mer (Or as Italians would say "Branzino" aka Mediterranean Sea Bass) had a crispy crunchy skin and the second time around was hot, moist and flaky on the inside.

Loup De Mer with Citrus

Thankfully I had a bite of every ones food. From what I recall (please understand my mind was clouded by gnocchi) the scallops melted like butter, the steak was cooked to perfection (we could not resist practically licking the plate of caramelized onions the steak sat on top of) and the Halibut was on par with the Loup De Mer, flaky and sweet with the green olive sauce so flavourful I could have drank it! But as I mentioned before, the peace offering Gnocchi just BLEW ME AWAY. As I ate them I actually planned a careful over-the-hill drive from my home in Studio City back to Craft in the weeks to come. I did so because I couldn't bare the though of not having these fluffy pillows of potato and cheesy joy upon the conclusion of this meal.                                                                 

Not to forget the side dishes! We chose shishito
peppers, potato gratin and mixed mushrooms. And if you are wondering how four people were able to consume this much food, my answer is this. How can you not when what's put in front of you screams freshness, purity, simplicity and balance. All the dishes shone in that restraint in the use of seasonings I mentioned earlier. It was like being taken on a journey of discovering how familiar things REALLY taste. No masking with seasonings, no dredging with oils and herbs. For all I know they sprinkled magic powder/potions because this may have been one of the few times a mushroom tasted like a mushroom, gratin was really great cheese and potato, and the shishito's a spicy tasty kick in your mouth.

Flatiron Steak

Mixed Mushrooms

Shishito Peppers

Potato Gratin

We did leave room for desert....after all it was a belated birthday celebration! We chose the Chocolate Chip Cookies as the waiter suggested. My husband asked if they are served with ice cream (I think he couldn't quite grasp YET how a simple cookie would be enough) when they said "No" he chose to add the Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream as well.
What can I tell you. As with the Gnocchi, I AGAIN started to plan the drive back to craft almost immediately. I appreciate a good cookie, especially a good chocolate chip cookie. But this was truly a GREAT cookie. Let me rephrase that.... I would rather it was called "Chocolate with a touch of cookies crust".

Perfect conclusion to a perfect meal. That cookie gave me what I call "the tickle". The tickle is when sweets induce  a tickle under my tongue (in the past only truffles have been capable) that make me hit the table with fists, grab sides of chairs I'm sitting on, and stomp my feet as I roll every sweet bite around my mouth afraid to swallow because I don't want it to be over! A dessert orgasm really.  The cookie did tickle, and only GREAT not good deserts give me the tickle. I am not much of a sweet tooth and I think that night I finally figured out why.... I need a guarantee that "the tickle" will happen whenever I have desert, thanks to the cookie at craft I now know! That is why I will be back for the Gnocchi and The Cookie for sure!  See you at craft!








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