Disher Review #15: Craft

I haven’t revisited Craft since chef Anthony Zappola succeeded Kevin Maxey as top chef, but all of the meals I have eaten there, with the exception of one undercooked piece of halibut, were more than memorable. However, one loyal Disher took eight of his friends to Craft on Saturday night and feels differently. Sip your morning coffee and “listen” to the unedited experience:

We had a large group go to Craft on Saturday night, had a reservation for 8 people at 9pm. We arrived, eager and excited to try our Top Chef leader’s high cuisine. Our enthusiasm faded after we had to wait in the W Living Room Bar for 45 minutes only to get 2 tables for 4. We were within 10 yards of each other, so whatever, we were starving as 10pm rolled around.

The staff was nice enough – highlight of my night was when someone in our group, albeit the other table, ordered a Lone Star (they don’t carry Coors, Miller, or Bud) and they presented it to him table side, showing him the label, as if he was supposed to savor all that is the Lone Star beer. Lowlight of the night – the Lone Star was still $6 and they didn’t leave the bottle cap behind as to entertain the group, or at least half the group.

The first course came out: completely lackluster. The Baby Lettuce w/Celest Figs & La Cuesta Farm goat cheese was so underwhelming. Very dry, almost no flavor. The heirloom tomato salad was a sliced tomato and the salmon rillette was just a total letdown. A tiny little scoop, for 4 people, with 2 parmessan crackers.

The main course, was slightly better. The menu that had been emailed to us had been altered, instead of the Lemon Sole that was advertised, Skate Wing was in its place – yet the famed assassin did not lure anyone in from our table. I had the steak, which was decent, and the rest of the table had the short rib. Everything was fine, but again, underwhelming.

Desert again was small, and nothing that fantastic. The cookies were dry, again, there were no peaches as advertised on the emailed menu, and the sorbet for 4 was more like for 2.

This is where the problem was, we all felt like had you had a table for 1, by yourself, you would have gotten the same amount of food as for 4. The portions were the same no matter how many people were at the table. The food wasn’t what we were expecting from a restaurant that is supposed to be so fantastic – and for a restaurant that I may not usually go to, I felt like I should have been impressed and left saying “I want to come here for my birthday.” Instead I felt like they just wanted restaurant week to be over. We went to Abacus the night before and thoroughly enjoyed the food and service. Overall – I’d pass on Craft.

Oh, I love the touch with the beer bottle. And I’m sure many kitchens around town agree with this reviewer when he says “I felt like they just wanted restaurant week to be over.”

And while I firmly believe everyone is a valid food critic–you are after all journaling an experience–not everyone is a constructive critic. I’m not just picking on the reader above, but it is hard to take someone seriously if they don’t bother to spell dessert correctly or tell me why the steak was “decent.” Decent to me is different than decent to another. Descriptive adjectives would help: juicy, perfectly pink, any spices or sauces? Get my drift?

If a restaurant works hard–even if you don’t like what they sell you–you need to work hard on your review of said restaurant. OK, then. We’ll start a food writing contest. Whadayathank? Winner gets published in D. Come on guys, lets Ranch Up!

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