Excelling in simplicity, Craft is one of the city's strongest reminders of an authentic culinary perfection achieved without artifice or exhibitionism, but rather with soulful confidence and insightful mastery.
While I'm wary of superlatives when describing restaurants, Craft has securely found its way into my top 10 favorite places in New York City, the result of its rare breed of excellence achieved through impeccable ingredients, attentive, artful, and passionate cooking, and the utmost sophistication in accessible service.
For a restaurant with such expertise, Craft puts much of the design of the dinner into the diner's own hands, though the servers are always wise in their advice, and eager to assist in crafting a winning combination of dishes. While appetizers and first courses are light beginnings to the meal that don't require any extra effort, the excitement of the main course involves choosing a protein, either roasted, grilled, or braised, and several accompanying sides.
For me, a perfect meal includes the Braised Beef Short Rib or Roasted Long Island Duck, both beautifully rich and fatty, unfolding like butter on the tongue. These mains both sit in a unique jus meticulously and deliciously paired with their star protein. My ideal selection of sides will then inevitably include Roasted Brussels Sprouts with crackling dots of bacon, Roasted Hen of the Woods mushrooms with a meaty and lemony flavor, and, of course, the star of the various starches and grains offered, the Gnocchi. These pillows of potato are perfect, melt-in-your-mouth morsels coated in a creamy butter and cheese sauce that will make you forget any other pleasure in your life. Such delight does come with a price, however, and guests who want to fully embrace the offerings of Craft should expect to pay around $100 per person. But Craft is not about unwelcome surprises, but rather it is about promising profound delight from an elegant meal with the feel of home, and for large plates and heaping bowls of phenomenal food, the price has never been more worth it.
This subtle culinary alchemy is all presented family style, spreading out over wide and spacious tables made of warm, red hued woods that encourage diners to truly relax. The space itself also radiates an unusual, comforting glow for its industrial leanings, anchored with columns of rough brick and hanging lightbulbs. Everywhere in Craft, the message is the same: with just a little bit of magic from an unadultered culinary soul, simplicity shines.