On a bitterly cold MLK night, and after seeing Woody Allen’s latest, Cassandra’s Dream [I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it but Colin Farrell was quite good as an unwilling murderer who quickly decompensates post-deed] my troupe of four slipped into a quiet Craftbar.
I didn’t call ahead, it was a spontaneous Allergic Girl inspection, but knowing Craft as I do, I had the sense they could handle the Allergic Girl situation. For those of you outside of NYC, Craft is Chef Tom Colicchio’s baby, and the beginning of what has become his Craft empire. All of the Crafts are truly service oriented dining establishments, in the style of the service guru and Tom’s former biz partner Danny Meyer. Add to that an emphasis on high quality ingredients prepared in the way the highlights the inherent best qualities of a dish [sautéed, braised, roasted, etc.] using all clean unadulterated food and it’s fairly easy to ensure your meal is allergen-friendly. This resto group is the real deal, focused on the craft of cuisine.
So, knowing all of this and having had many positive Craft experiences, (except for that dining misstep at Craftsteak last year, where what lacked in food was made up for by impeccable handling by the GM Anthony Mardach) I felt pretty sure Craftbar would be able to accommodate my needs.
Still, I sought out the general manager to have The Discussion. GM, and wine buyer, Hayden was on top of his game even after having a hectic New York Restaurant Week lunch crowd that afternoon [200 covers!] He graciously and knowledgeably walked me through the menu. I told him I was looking at the lamb shank, short rib, or Cornish hen [or baby chicken as they called it] and he double checked with Chef de Cuisine Philippe Besson who was cooking that night that all were indeed Allergic Girl safe.
I decided on the short ribs with root veggies and beef consommé and it was delectable. It was paired with a 2004 Santa Barbara Kunin Syrah, my new favorite tipple. (You know I must have been feeling safe to indulge in some vino. I usually don’t drink when at a new restaurant in case I do get allergic to something, Benadryl and wine can’t be a good combo.) My dining companions, who have been to Craftbar, many times had the veal meatballs, which was my second choice but they alas are not gluten-free, and two others at the table shared the orecchiette with sausage, cauliflower and parmesan and a salad.
Everyone oohed and ahhed over their respective dishes. Hayden kept us company throughout the meal, that is until he left to go have his dinner across town at Craftsteak. He couldn’t have taken better care of us if we were long lost cousins. Really, he was that nice. Thank you Hayden and Craftbar team!
Overall, we had a fun night with yummy, allergen-friendly food, and excellent service from GM Hayden. As I’m often in the Flatiron district, I’m thrilled to have another spot to add my list of allergen-friendly spots.
New York, NY 10003
[t] 212. 461-4300