After a delicious brunch few weeks ago at Craftbar, one of the restaurants from Chef Colicchio, we decided to go back for dinner with our friends Annie and Leif. Of course, before going, we did our homework: check the menu. I admit that I was a bit disappointed because they do not serve their burger for dinner...Well, it will give me an excuse to go back...
We went on a Tuesday and the place was crowded! I liked the atmosphere there, rendered by the impressive decor and all the candle lights.
The menu is seasonal and apparently, the vegetables are coming from the green market, located few steps from the restaurant. What I like is that they propose small plates and large plates, the small ones perfect for sharing, with the possibility to make them the size of an entree.
While we waited for the food, they served us some cheese sticks that were a bit spicy.
Then the food came and I was thrilled to try one small dish that Leif shared with me: duck hearts and dumplings!
I never tried duck hearts; veal, chicken, yes. But not duck. And it looked like...a heart!
It was served with small onions, bacon and a fried egg. Before trying the dumpling, I tried the duck heart. It was interesting and not what I imagined. The heart was so juicy that when I bit on it, the juice got released in my mouth leaving a sensation characteristic of a horror movie...Ok, I exaggerate a bit, but it felt weird! Then, the taste was not as robust as duck meat can be. The outside was also chewy. I liked it, but not as much as chicken or veal heart.
The dumpling was a bit dry and heavy; it was better eaten with the egg yolk. In fact, I am not sure what all these components were doing on the same plate.
Jodi got the Green Market vegetable salad, served with sheep's milk ricotta and a truffle vinaigrette.
When the dish came, you could definitely smell the truffle in the vinaigrette and I truly appreciated that it was not overpowering, although being present enough to give another dimension to the dish.
On my side, I got the fried chicken!
The presentation was nice and appetizing and there was for sure lots of chicken. The coating was made with buttermilk: it was thick and crispy, not greasy, and the chicken was very good, perfectly cooked and moist. I definitely liked it! However, the sides it came with were not as good:
- The Anson Mills white grits were a bit bland. I wish they would have served it with cheese or butter.
- The BBQ Heirloom beans had a nice texture, not being fully cooked and being a bit crunchy, but the BBQ sauce was really too sweet.
- The braised escarole was a bit bitter.
We also shared some green beans with cocoa nib butter and mint:
Based on the description of the dish, I would have thought that it would taste different from regular green beans...It did not...
Last was desserts! Jodi went for the ice cream sandwich:
It was made of a delicious buttery blondie cookie and a tasty peach ice cream that had small bits of peach in it. A perfect Summer dessert!
On my side, I ordered the praline chocolate cake:
It was served with a vanilla ice cream and candied pecan for some crunch. The cake was light with a nice layering of the chocolate and the praline. I truly appreciated that it was not too sweet!
I have mixed feelings about the dinner at Craftbar: the menu is definitely original, but not as good as the brunch and a bit pricey. The service that night was not that good and it took a while to get our desserts, to the point that I thought they forgot to place our order.
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And Remember: I Just Want To Eat!