Living in New York, it’s hard to escape the influence of Tom Colicchio. From Riverpark to the entire chain of Craft restaurants, my OpenTable options are often crammed with his restaurants. And so this visit to Craftbar was definitely not my first!
I first came across Craftbar over a year ago when they started serving brunch. I happened to be looking for a nice brunch place that wasn’t ridiculously hard to get into (I rarely remember to make reservations a day ahead of time, much less 3 weeks…), and Craftbar answered my New Yorker Saturday morning needs! However, their dinner reviews on Yelp didn’t fill me with great confidence, which is why it took me over a year and countless brunch visits before I finally clicked to make a dinner reservation. Boy was I glad I did!
I often find it difficult to keep to a Paleo diet when eating out – most dishes are filled with grains or potatoes with a small portion of protein so that in my moment of weakness fueled by hungry, disappointment, and despair, I stuff myself silly with whatever is in front of me (usually a bread basket!). I feared this would be the case here, but I was wonderfully surprised.
My first course was a Chicken Liver Pate beautifully presented in a little glass pot with the fat frozen on top. It came, of course, with a bread basket, but the fat and the protein was surprisingly filling so that I was able to eat it with just some of the pickles (which are hidden under that slice of radish). The pate is very smooth with an almost creamy texture and is filled with spices and herbs – in fact, the liver taste was distinctly not strong (which I liked).
J’s first course was slices of Beef Tongue. I’ve never cooked tongue before, although I have seen recipes for it and photos for how to cook it. Somehow it just doesn’t look all that appealing to me – especially the part about peeling off the outside layer! Call me squeamish! However, these slices of tongue more resembled slices of ham than anything else. Cooked to perfection and lightly seasoned with mustard.
For my main course, I had to order the Duck Confit even though it was a Cassoulet (a French casserole-like dish). You can see part of the duck leg sticking out in the photo. Well, there’s actually two whole duck legs cooked to perfection! Thinking about it now makes my salivate for more.
PORK BELLY and KIELBASA
J got the Choucroute Garnie (a skillet filled with pork belly, kielbasa sausage, sauerkraut, potatoes, and turnips). It was good – he loved the kielbasa sausage, and I thought the pork belly was cooked perfectly (the fat melting in your mouth).
And those aren’t the only options that Paleo-eaters would love. There’s also a bunch of exotic salumi (think duck proscuitto and coppa). Then there are large plates of mussels as well as halibut and chicken breast.
So what’s my VERDICT?
With amazing dishes like the duck confit for under $30 a dish (yeah, it’s still expensive, but pretty good for NYC and plus, it’s DUCK CONFIT!), Craftbar is definitely fast becoming one of my favorite restaurants in NYC!