Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Craftbar - New York, NY

Craftbar, one of Tom Colicchio's restaurants in New York City, offers a daily-changing menu that features the finest seasonal and local ingredients. 

Five-Spiced Rohan Duck - Craftbar - New York, NY | Taste As You Go
Five-Spiced Rohan Duck - Craftbar - New York, NY

The first time I dined at Craftbar in New York, I met some out-of-town friends for brunch. We had a fabulous time catching up over mimosas and brioche doughnuts that were served with a chocolate sauce so delicious, I wanted to slurp it right out of the bowl. But as much as I enjoyed our meal at Craftbar, I never made it back to the restaurant for a second meal... that is, not until after I moved out of the city and had arranged for Stephen and me to meet another set of friends there for dinner this past January.

Lauren is one of my closest New York friends and stood as one of my bridesmaids in our wedding. (Her husband Alp served as an honorary bridesmaid.) I used to hang out with them (and their sweet kitty Milo!) on a regular basis when I still lived in the city and even when I was still commuting back and forth. Unfortunately, we're not able to see each other as often as we'd like, so I cherish every time we're able to get together for a good meal and even better conversation.

Improved Gin & Tonic - Craftbar - New York, NY | Taste As You Go
Improved Gin & Tonic - Craftbar - New York, NY

Stephen and I managed to make it to the restaurant before Lauren and Alp, so we grabbed some seats at the bar and ordered a round of Improved Gin & Tonics ($13 each) from the cocktail menu. Made with London gin, lime, seltzer, and "stretched with Jack Rudy tonic", the drink was incredibly smooth and the extra carbonation from the combination of seltzer and tonic made it very refreshing.

So refreshing that we almost ordered another round... Thankfully, Lauren and Alp arrived before we could fully commit to the idea.

Wild Arugula Ricotta Salata - Craftbar - New York, NY | Taste As You Go
Wild Arugula Ricotta Salata - Craftbar - New York, NY

As a reminder, the menus at Craftbar change daily and reflect ingredients that are seasonal and locally available. It's important that you understand this as I write about what I ate back in January since there's no guarantee those dishes will still be on the menu now.

To start, I ordered the Wild Arugula Ricotta Salata ($13) served with preserved lemon and pine nuts and dressed with a tangy lemon vinaigrette. The peppery arugula paired perfectly with the creaminess and slight saltiness of the ricotta and the acid from the preserved lemon and lemon vinaigrette added a brightness to the greens.

And, while I appreciated the crunchy texture of the pine nuts, they were practically forgotten about on the bottom of the dish. When I did remember that they were there, I had a hard time capturing them on the fork. I'm sure there was a valid reason for having them in the pine nuts in the salad, but I could have easily done without them.

Five-Spiced Rohan Duck - Craftbar - New York, NY | Taste As You Go
Five-Spiced Rohan Duck - Craftbar - New York, NY

For my main entree, I ordered the Five-Spiced Rohan Duck ($29) with a confit leg, smoked breast, parsnip, bok choy, and cara cara orange. The skin on the confit leg was perfectly golden brown and crisp while the actual meat was moist, tender, and falling off the bone. The richness of the meat was tempered by the slight bitterness of the bok choy and the sweetness of the parsnip puree. I loved every bite.

I wasn't as enamored with the smoked duck breast. I found it too smoky for my own liking, even when combining a bite of the duck with a piece of orange. Of course, my lesser opinion about the duck breast didn't prevent me from eating the majority of it before finally putting my fork down. ;-)

Cookies and Milk - Craftbar - New York, NY | Taste As You Go
Cookies and Milk - Craftbar - New York, NY

I know I probably should have stopped there. I shouldn't have even entertained the idea of adding dessert on top of all of that, but when I saw Cookies and Milk on the dessert menu, I couldn't help myself. Nostalgia kicked in and I just had to order them.

Two generously-sized chocolate chip cookies arrived on a wooden board, presented with a glass of just the right amount of milk for dunking. Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better way to end an incredibly fun night with friends. I hope we're able to get together for dinner again soon!

Craftbar
900 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
(212) 461-4300 | Online Reservations | Map

Craftbar on Urbanspoon

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