To most people, Craft is Tom Colicchio, and Tom is the big bold (and bald) judge on Top Chef on Bravo.
To most foodies, Tom Colicchio defined himself at Gramercy Tavern, accelerated his fame at Craft, and is now focused on expanding his restaurant empire, dedicating his time to Colicchio & Sons.
As a food enthusiast, I follow the developments of the New York food scene closely. When I learned about Colicchio & Sons, I was eager to dine there, but came out disappointed. Not wanting my only experience of Chef Colicchio’s cooking to be a negative one, I looked for an opportunity to either revisit Colicchio & Sons or visit Craft. The opportunity came with a wine blind tasting event held at Craft for April Fools day. As a developing wine enthusiast, this was not to be passed up.
The blind tasting was held at Craft’s private dining room, adjacent to the Craft restaurant, and is actually the original location of Craft Bar. You enter through a long hallway, past a bar, and enter the dining space where the open kitchen hid beyond wooden screens. As the meal began, the screen opens like the stage of a theater.
Before we get to the food, a quick note on the Blind Tasting. As soon as we enter the room, we are presented with notes, information on how to taste wine, and information on food parings. Along the wall there were 11 different wines in brown paper bags. Our job was to guess the varietal and country. It was fun, slightly tricky, but a great learning experience.
The 4 course menu was designed to accompany the wines, and were all exceptional. The first course was a suckling pig ballotine with chilies and celery root. Having already tried 3 glasses of wine, everyone was eager to dig into some food. The thin slices of pork were reminiscent of the cold starter-plates at Chinese gourmets meals, but had a distinctly bold American flavor to the style of cooking. Delicate plating with bold flavors.
The second course, which was an agnolotti filled with chestnut and black truffle, I was kind of worried about when I saw it on the menu. This is something I probably would not order if given the option. Despite my love for truffles, an agnolotti with no meat? Savory chestnuts? Boy, was I so very wrong. The agnolotti was served in a thin bowl with a warm broth. Each bite released the creamy texture and flavors of the chestnut, and you get a overwhelming, yet complementary fragrance of truffles. An extremely pleasant surprise.
For the main, a pork shank over polenta and broccoli rabe. I’ve always been a fan of pork with polenta, though the cut has usually been belly, not shank. However when the meat is cooked to fall off the bone tenderness, the flavor and texture of pork shank was phenomenal. The seasoning was light, which perfectly highlighted the flavors of the meat.
Finally, to pair with the sweet Rieslings, a vanilla bean crepe. Simple and tasty.
Though I manage to flunk my wine guessing test, and probably had more than my usual amount of wine, the heart of this whole experience was a fantastic meal. I always tell people that high cuisine is an experience to remember, paired with a special event and excellent wines, it’s an experience to savor over and over again.
What does this rating mean?
Craft (Make a Reservation)
43 E. 19th St.
New York, NY 10003