Sam Sifton confirms William Grimes assessment from a decade ago: Tom Colicchio's Craft is a three star restaurant. Sifton, a fan of the Colicchio's program (evidenced by his threespot for Colicchio & Sons and deuce for Riverpark), asserts that it's very difficult to do simple food well, and that's exactly what's the team is doing there:
There is no overt theatricality to the food at Craft. Its presentation is simple, even plain. But such simplicity belies a truth about the restaurant’s cooking. There can be no hiding behind artifice. No lipstick is available for the pigs.Sifton says, of Tom, "He has books to write, advertisements to film, the businesses to manage. But his flagship restaurant is as magical and delicious as it was when it opened, and it is all the more exciting for that."
So if there are heirloom tomatoes on the menu, they must be the right ones, picked at the correct moment and served today, or the dish is a failure...Roast sturgeon, simply that, no more or less than the fish itself? The fish must be coaxed into that state without losing its essence, or the dude will not abide.
Jay Cheshes is not charmed by the DIY amateurish vibe at Bed-Stuy's Do or Dine: "Justin Warner and George McNeese, the 27-year-olds in the kitchen—and the real driving force behind the place—waited tables at the Modern before partnering up here. That might account for their restaurant’s fastidious service and warm hipster vibe. But what would possess them, with no professional cooking experience, to sign on as chefs? While their dishes often have the appearance of high-end restaurant food, there are limits, it’s clear, to making it up as you go." [TONY]
Steve Cuozzo is happy to report that Porter House, whose owner Michael Lomonaco was the chef at Windows of the World on 9/11, is an excellent restaurant: "In five years, he’s made Porter House one of Manhattan’s finest steakhouses. Unlike at many beef joints, its other dishes are every bit the equal of the house-signature USDA-prime, dry-aged porterhouse for two...And, of course, the windows...The eastern exposure is a postcard of romantic Manhattan..." [NYP]
Robert Sietsema is pleasantly surprised at Neely's Barbecue Parlor: "Here's the shocker: Much of the food is good, despite hatred of the restaurant spewed by Yelpers and others...on three visits to the Barbecue Parlor, the Neelys were nowhere to be seen. Maybe they realized that, to make their first New York restaurant a success, the best thing they could do, for once, was to stay out of the picture." [VV]
THE ELSEWHERE: Jane Black says the food alone is reason enough to go to Nitehawk Cinema, Steven Stern likes the "goofball cheese-focused bar food" at Earl's Beer & Cheese on the Upper East Side, Ryan Sutton slams the food offerings at the US Open, Tables for Two has a rave for The Dutch, and Lauren Shockey is actually won over by the low key, experimental vibe at Do or Dine.
THE BLOGS: The Food Doc has a disappointing meal at Esca, Gotham Gal finds some clunkers but still thinks Red Farm is great for the neighborhood, Immaculate Infatuation loves the pasta at Spasso, and Law & Food braves the wait and is rewarded with excellent ramen at Totto Ramen.