Last summer, a few folks went to Craft after dinner and straight up killed the dessert menu. We came, ate out Cathering Schimenti, and promtply wet our all panties. It was hot.

Since then, Chef Tom Colicchio has become even a bigger rock star, throwing down 2 more seasons of Top Chef. Moi? Still don’t have cable, still too impatient to download torrents. This impatience was a perfect match for the new Craftbar menu, announced earlier this month (March 2nd, to be exact), to be served only at Craft’s front bar/waiting area/perpetually freezing outdoor lounge.

The gist of these new menus are extremely simple: cheaper food served from the area which needs less service; utilize dead space (especially on weekdays) by attracting new diners with new affordable small plates. And it works. 2 people can walk in, sit down with no reservations and walk out, $50 later, full, amused, happy.

All cylinders were firing at Craftbar last Thursday. Everyone was all smiles (except the douchebag producer neighbor, who interrupted the order-taking process TWICE because he had an “important phone call” and had to leave a credit card), the menu was freshly printed on that particular day (March 5th) and the food was spot on – nary a repeat from the full Craft menu.

First up, PETA unapproved veal cheek. That’s right. Baby cow’s face all cut up, in piquillo pepper stew. Sign me up:

Next up: lamb cheese slider with tomato marmalde, aka: housemade ketchup; and apparently, housemade pickles. Damn good. Best burger of the year. It puts my secret, unannounced, fave burger, from DTLA, to shame. At $6, it ain’t cheap, but hell! When was the last time you had a LAMB BURGER? Say it with me: LAMB BURGER! Kobe from Tops is sooooo 2007!!!

After the lamb slider ($6, not $5, it’s a typo), life no longer mattered, tho the Berkshire pork rillette did arrive. The jarred conversa bottle of pork was topped with a quarter inch thick layer of aspic which held firm even at room temperature. Lovely. It came with freshly baked thin biscotti which crumpled easily, but was structurally sound enough to hold a thin layer rillette. From this dish, it’s safe to assume all the “jarred” meats are fillers. Next time, Jidori chicken fo sho.

The final order of raviolis for 2008. The raviol”tini” of Rustic Canyon disappointed me so and Craftbar did not fare much better. Yes the raviolis were cooked al dente, but damnit, it’s bland. There is good olive oil drizzled, but the braised short ribs (rillette???) inside the ravioli was bland. And there were only 3 lil pieces? Chef Boy-ar-dee would’ve been hungry.

And here is the FINEST moment of Craftbar history (yes, it’s only 2 days old but.. stilll!) Truffle buttered house-stuffed sausage over lentils, topped with frisee(?). Yah. We all dig Wurstkuche. Now imagine them sausages over aromatic purple lentils and cry mama:

a Mclaren SLR, $500K, +/- $50K for customization

But, we kid.
Catherine Schimenti‘s strawberry shortcake is up next. Yes she’s nominated as a semi-finalist for James Beard ’09 Best Pastry Chef. Yes, we’ve wrecked her. Yes she’s allowed to bear Sinosoul‘s children. Unfortunately, this is the only miss of the evening. Conclusion: still love Mrs. Schimenti, still hate short cake of any type:

And finally, to the front of the house / host guy: F you. When someone tells you there’s no pix of any other patron in the lounge, BELIEVE, then relax your sphincter. Glass of water + bokeh were shot before you screamed out: “excuse me sir, are you taking picture of the restaurant”? YES ASSHOLE. Who do you think you are? If The Bazaar lets the cameras fly, your 2 YO restaurant should deal. Of course that didn’t come out loud, but you betcha someone was thinking it.

Same as Craft
Somewhere in the Constellations of Century City
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  • mmmm… “Truffle buttered house-stuffed sausage over lentils”… and they should WELCOME cameras… especially YOURS.

    : )

  • enji

    i’m uh goin’ soon

  • enji

    i’m going to try lamb slider, hushpuppies,lambbelly with beets,Jidori Chicken Liver Mousse,Grilled Cinnamon Raisin Bread w/ Hazelnut Spread & Cocoa Nibs.

    P.S. Did the “jar” items – come with bread or toast?

  • TonyC

    Enji: and I quote myself – “It came with freshly baked thin biscotti”. enjoy. it was tremendous fun.

  • jenni h

    wow looks good. i wasn’t a big fan of the food but i do love the desserts

    so which do you hate more, raspberries or short cake?

  • Looks like my kinda place. Craftbar has been added to the list.

  • haha, they just don’t want you to turn papparazzo and snap shots of the famous clientele. There was a celeb next to us last time we were there.

  • TonyC

    Jenni, take a second look at the Craftbar menu. It is COMPLETELY different from the back house menu. I never visited Craft for the same reason you didn’t like the food, but once the Craftbar menu was released, we were there in 3 days. It’s money. Instant top 10 meal of the year for me.

  • While I know most will comment on the content of this title, I really like the title. Something very idyllic about a city on fire… 🙂

  • They really gave you shit for taking pictures? Who do they think they are. They should be flagging down paparazzi

  • the boss loves this place. will frequent soon.

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