It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing at Craftbar of late. Tom Colicchio's chef of 8 years, Akthar Nawab, for whom Craftbar was in many ways created, has left. The menu redesign that accompanied the venue's relocation -- jazzing it up to match an increased rent -- is all but abandoned, the restaurant having returned to their $20 and under approach for all dishes (the meatballs are back!). Despite a report from the field that the dining room was appropriately crowded for a Friday night, we’d even heard rumblings from the right people that the place was flat out closing.
So we contacted Good Guy Tom's camp to see if they had any light to shed and their answer was not surprising: They're not closing. What they are doing is adding brunch, beginning March 11th. Although we would respectfully recommend that they find some room on the menu for more basic brunch fare, we do hope this is a sign of Craftbar falling into its new -- old -- role of being an essential spot for an elegantly casual meal.
Because the other explanation for the addition of brunch, that it's the official beginning of the end, is much harder to swallow.
· Craftbar Brunch Menu [.pdf download]
· Off the Menu: Craftbar [NYT]