After opening Craft to rave reviews in 2001, Tom “Top Chef” Colicchio launched this more casual spin-off to a lukewarm reception. One gets the feeling Mr. Critical may not be as fastidious with his own joints as he is on TV. The second incarnation of Craftbar—the once-intimate restaurant relocated to this enormous space (formerly Morrell’s Wine Bar) in 2005—is characterized by cold industrial touches. Track lighting, high ceilings and brown butcher paper on the tables are features in both the casual bar, loungelike front area and in the more formal dining room. Last April, Philippe Besson (Gramercy Tavern, the Modern) replaced chef Akhtar Nawab (now at E.U.). Ordering from his Pan-European menu should be easy—but it’s not. Among the mind-boggling selection of first courses are so-called snacks, appetizers, salads—26 options in total. What we did try failed to impress. Sausage-stuffed fried sage tasted more of oil than meat or herbs. The duck prosciutto sandwich with Taleggio and maitake mushrooms was just plain dry. The wine list is by far the best thing about the place: You can get a bottle for as little as $35 and choose among more than two dozen wines by the glass. But frankly, we expect more from Tom.
|Cross street:||between 19th and 20th Sts|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed noon–10pm; Thu, Fri noon–11pm; Sat 10am–11pm; Sun 10am–10pm|
|Transport:||Subway: N, R to 23rd St|
|Price:||Average main course: $20|
|Do you own this business?|