Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio opened Craft in the Gramercy district back in spring 2001. Haute Living takes a look at how the simplistic perfection of the menu has transcended through the years.
Craft is an posh American restaurant that Colicchio opened ten years ago without any theatrics and it remains pure and simple and fabulous. While presentation at first glance may appear minimal, it is the art of making exactly what is on the plate memorable that makes Craft stand far apart from other restaurants. There is nothing hiding or altering flavors – when you order roast sturgeon, that’s what you get. The fish will be cooked to perfection and each bite is a surprise and delight without any frills. Craft is known for the “high quality of ingredients and the masterly handling of them by the restaurant’s staff.”
Colicchio opened Craft in 2001 with then chef de cuisine Marco Canora, who has since moved on. Colicchio has also expanded his empire becoming a television star and businessman, with restaurants and sandwich ships in Los Angeles, Dallas, Las Vegas and other locations. James Tracey, who was on the original kitchen team during the Craft’s early years is now the executive chef and responsible for daily operations. A skillful interpreter of Colicchio’s menu and culinary values, Tracey masters the simple demand for excellence in ingredients and preparation.
In 2001, Craft’s menu was a “do-it-yourself” type menu where diners would build their own dinners from lists of proteins, sauces and styles of preparations. Those days are gone, and now Craft offers dishes on a level of perfection most guests couldn’t even imagine, let alone create on their own. The wine list is now run by Greg Majors, who previously worked at Cru. The wine list is wide-ranging with many top end bottles but also featuring good values in the $50-$80 range.
Aesthetically, Craft maintains its masculine-minimalist approach that it opened its doors with ten years ago. There is a constellation of Edison bulbs hanging from the ceiling and surfaces are made of concrete and leather, terra cotta and unprocessed steel. Tables are wide, bare, refectory-style surfaces, perfect for the family-style dishes. Lighting is kept low with candles flickering throughout, highlighting artwork along the walls by Stephen Hannock. Craft is comfortably modern and has the feel of a lavish downtown loft.
If you have room for dessert, it is well worth your while. Jennifer McCoy, who came on board in summer 2010, masterfully makes ice cream, sorbet, classic pain perdu with caramel and crème fraiche and s’mores with chocolate-peanut butter mouse.
Craft is located at 43 East 19th Street, Gramercy district. It is opened Sunday to Thursday from 5:30 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m. Reservations are recommended at least two weeks in advance.
Source: New York Times