Tom Colicchio…We Love You So!

This last lovely week, Lindsay and I had the pleasure of eating at Craft in Century City (amazingness begins here).  Lindsay had already been to various Craft restaurants, but I hadn’t yet had the pleasure, and what a pleasure it was.  One of our favorite parts of the experience were the “amuse” courses.  Let’s take a look at all of the amazing food:

Amuse: Eggplant & Feta Crostini

Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures of the “amuse” courses, but we’re going to discuss them for your stomach’s pleasure.

Lauren: The eggplant and feta crostini was a great start to the evening.  It was fresh and light and the feta and eggplant mixture had a humus-like texture, and I’m not normally an eggplant fan.

Lindsay: I second that.  When I heard eggplant it made me a bit skeptical of how amazing this one bit could taste, but Tom definitely started the dinner off on a high note.

Kumamoto Oyster

Lindsay:  OK…let me start by saying.  I do not order oysters anywhere, but here.  I first braved this eat at CraftSteak in Vegas and for some reason I fell in love.  If you are averse to slimy textures and creatures from the sea, but want to try something new and/or branch out I would try it at Craft.  Kumamoto oysters are petite little things so it makes for one good slurp (with no chewing required….thank goodness).  And make sure to load up on all the tasty condiments (fresh lemon juice, a red cocktail sauce, and mignonette sauce..ummmm) like I did because as we all know everything tastes better with sauce.

Lauren:  Seeing as I don’t eat anything that swims in the ocean, I let Lindsay go for the oyster.  I love the way they presented the dish, despite my unwillingness to eat it.

Salad: Spinach & Smoked Bacon

  Lauren: I was a huge fan of the spinach and smoked bacon salad.  It was a beautifully simple salad with amazing flavor.  In addition to the spinach and bacon, there was some crispy onion strands and two magenta-colored eggs (please see the inset, they reminded me of easter).  The spinach was really fresh (I’m not a fan of cooked spinach, but fresh spinach is amazing).  The bacon was nicely cooked and the combination of the bacon and the onion straws created a lovely saltiness to the whole dish.  It was elegantly simple, but full of flavor.

Lindsay:  This salad personified “few ingredients, but big flavor.”   There is not much I can say about this salad except, bacon makes everything tastes better.  Oh and if you are wondering how the eggs got that beet-red color (that’s a hint folks), they literally dyed them with beets.  Tom…you are a master dyer.

Vegetable: Flowering Squash

Lindsay:  The benefit of eating at restaurants who tailor their menus to what’s in season are dishes like this one.  These babies are literally just coming into season and are little tender, baked until golden brown jewels.  Squash is not in my top ten favorite vegetables, but this dish definitely moved them up in the ranks.

Lauren: Squash is one of my favorite vegetables, but I had yet to try flowering baby squash.  Was I missing out!  First, I’d like to mention that most of the produce used at Craft comes from local farms, so the menu changes often.  The flowering squash was so good and the different varieties each had their own unique taste, and the flowers were the best part!  So good.

Risotto: Green Garlic & Preserved Lemon Risotto

Lauren: Hands down, best risotto.  Ever.  The garlic was melt-in-your-mouth and the lemon, paired with the cheese (Lindsay and I were debating what the cheese was) was phenomenal.  I really can’t even speak to the combination of tastes.  If I could eat this every day, it’d never get old.  It’s just that good.

Lindsay:  Often times I eat at restaurants and say that was amazing, but there are no words to describe the awe you will be in after your first bite of this risotto.  Perfect amount of zing from the preserved lemon and the right amount of non-abrasive punch from the green garlic.  A week later you will still be talking about this risotto.  A year later you will be thinking about going back to Craft and ordering it praying that they have put it back up on their seasonal-specific menu.  Literally, Lauren and I sat there for twenty minutes talking about how we could re-create this at home so that we could have it anytime.

Pasta: English Pea Magtagliati

Lindsay:  This dish probably received low marks from both me and Lauren because if you are going to follow a dish like the risotto mentioned above you have to be absolutely perfect in every sense of the word.  This dish….not perfect although I’d bet there aren’t many dishes that could rival Tom’s risotto.  The pasta is homemade and very flavorful, but when you put these two dishes in head-to-head combat the risotto will emerge victorious every time.

Lauren:  Of all the things we ordered, this was my least favorite.  The pasta was really good.  It was homemade and cooked al dente (I’m not down with over-cooked pasta).  The peas were also surprisingly good, springy and crunchy.  It might have been the fact that this was our final plate, but it was too heavy and creamy for me.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good.  Just not my favorite.

Amuse: Goat Cheese Mousse with Peppered Strawberries

Lauren: Delightful!  The goat cheese mousse was unique and delectable and the peppered strawberries cut the cheese taste beautifully.

Lindsay:  OMG!  The only disappointing thing about this one-bite was just that….it was only one-bite.  I could have eaten a whole bowl of this mildly tart mousse.  I love the way chefs are playing with sweet and savory these days!

Desert: Chocolate Chip Cookies & Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream

Lindsay: Once again we have failed you in the photograph department.  Suffice it to say that you cannot go wrong with the classic all-American pairing of right out the oven chocolate chip cookies, with their warm, crunchy exterior and melty, chocolate interior, and a bowl vanilla ice cream where you can see the vanilla specks throughout.  YUM!

Lauren: Another favorite of mine.  The cookies were amazing, and we had to get the vanilla ice cream to scoop on top.  They came out warm with chocolate swirl, so every bite was dripping with melted chocolate.  There were four cookies, which was way more than both of us could eat after our huge meal.  We got to take them home, and I must say, I ate my cookie the next day, and it was still the best cookie I had ever had, even one day old.

Amuse: Caramel Corn, One Bite Chocolate Cookie, and Tuille

Lauren:  The caramel corn was great.  By the time this amuse course came out though, I had eaten way too much for my own good.  It was just too much.

Lindsay:A very good way to end the meal, but I think our bellies were too stuffed to really appreciate it.

The Verdict

Lindsay:  Tom Colicchio is never one to disappoint.  I have never had a bad meal at any of his establishments, and last Tuesday was no different.  Lindsay boasts, “One million stars to her favorite celebrity chef!”  If you don’t go for anything else, go for the risotto… will change your life!  Take heed in your ordering please, as we are proof that you can over-do it easily at a place like this.  Think baby steps.  Order two and then if you are still hungry order more.  As you have probably noticed with us we are not typical main-course eaters (no steaks or chicken here), but if are into that sorta stuff (like most of America) they also have a wide array of meat, poultry, and seafood that are sure to not disappoint.  Eat here, if you know what’s good for ya!

Lauren:  Craft is the best restaurant I’ve been to, quite possibly ever.  With two of my favorite courses (risotto and desert), it was a little piece of heaven.  Just a word of warning, there were so many small amuse courses, that I would suggest not ordering everything that you want, so you can take advantage of these beautiful bites.  We even got a blueberry muffin to take home with us.  I ate it for breakfast the next day, and it was one of the best blueberry muffins I’ve had in a while. 

We love you, Tom Colicchio!



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