November 29, 2009
When I went to ‘wichcraft during my Labor Day trip to Las Vegas, I was underwhelmed. I’ll document my experience there at another time, but let me just preface this review using the following terms:
If Colicchio was a general ledger, I’d record the following:
DR. Cash – in Colicchio’s pocket (from Felicia, for ‘wichcraft)
CR. Payable – to Felicia (for good food, because of ‘wichcraft)
Thus, when DineLA Restaurant Week came rolling around and my fellow foodie friends and I made our reservations for Craft, I was hoping for something more substantial – a meal to really showcase his talents.
Welcome to Craft.
During Restaurant Week, Craft only serves from their DineLA menu which, on first thought, seems a bit odd. However, once you look at their menu, you realize they’re not restricting your options at all. In line with their usual “family-style” mentality, all appetizers, side dishes and desserts are served to the entire table – no debating necessary. This equates to a total of 2 first courses, 1 entree (your choice of one of four protein options), 3 sides and 3 desserts for the DineLA fixed price of $44.
As previously mentioned, our party was served 2 first courses. The first of the two, the salmon rillette, was smooth and had just a hint of smokiness to it. The cracker which I smothered it over was reminiscent of a Wheat Thin (albeit, a high end Wheat Thin). The second of the first courses was an endive, apple and pecan salad. The dressing (made of blue cheese and…balsamic, perhaps? not quite sure) mellowed out the bitterness of the endive. The apples added a nice sweetness to the dish and candied pecans added a bit of crunch.
Craving something hearty, and partly convinced by the waiter who stated it was one of his favorite dishes, I ordered the short ribs as my main entree. It came with a side of market vegetables (brussel sprouts, carrots, okra, cauliflower and the like), assorted mushrooms, and the creamiest potato gratin I’ve had in recent memory. (Just a note about the gratin: It was creamy and rich, but not heavy. I could have easily eaten the whole serving.) After evaluating the rest of the entree options after they were served, I think I made the right choice with the short ribs. They were soft and tender with a nice crust on the outside of it and, unlike the sirloin (which I had a quick bite of), the flavor had some depth to it. Spooning the au jus onto the ribs was a must.
Lastly, came dessert, which had a little bit of something for everyone. For something light, Craft served up an sextet of ice creams and sorbets: banana, raspberry, vanilla, apple, cacao chip, and cinnamon. The apple was fresh and had a very fine, natural grit to it. The banana tasted like frozen pureed bananas (and I say that in a good way). We all hoarded our spoon of cinnamon ice cream like auditors hoarding their favorite office supplies.
For something a tad heavier than the ice cream and sorbets but still sticking with the fruit flavors, we were presented with the raspberry almond buckle. Although it may look dense like a coffee cake, it’s actually light and fluffy. The raspberries just burst from the batter with an explosion of tartness.
For the richer of the three desserts was the Columbian chocolate coupe – similar to a chocolate mousse, but not as thick. It sat atop fresh whipped cream and was topped with candied oranges and crunchy devil’s food cake. The saltiness of the devil’s food cake complimented the chocolate coupe well.
I don’t remember who suggested ordering the beignets (which weren’t even on the DineLA menu, although they available for those sitting at the bar), but I suddenly found myself sitting with a pile of them in front of me. They were light and fluffy – like eating a puff of air, wrapped in dough.
Given dinner at Craft was a DineLA tasting menu, I was very happy with the quality of food that was served. I thoroughly enjoyed all the dishes that were placed in front of me and thus am wiping clean Colicchio’s “good food” payable to me. Further, as we were presented with a $10 voucher for our next meal at Craft at the time of payment, I think the entries currently stand as such:
DR. Prepaid – $10 Craft Voucher
CR. Liability – Felicia’s Obligation to Return to Craft
Colicchio, I’ll be back to clear my debts.
10100 Constellation Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067