Collichio and sons

I was never a fan of Craft Steak.  The food just wasn't that good.  Also, the space is so overwhelmingly huge that there was no intimacy at all.  The fact that Collichio decided Craft Steak wasn't working and changed the whole concept is pretty smart.  He gets high kudos for that.  It is now called Colicchio & Sons.

The space has been given some minor changes that definitely create a more intimate feel.  The wood log wall around the bar area (called the tap room) with tables makes that area into a small cafe.  Smart.  My guess is this area is for the walk in customers.  We sat in the back, and the changes, although not huge, make a difference.  The place is still quite large and unless it is filled, it is quite obvious how many patrons are or aren't there.  That is a challenge on to itself particularly now when people are acutely aware of which restaurants are filled and which ones aren't.

From what I understand, the concept is that every morning, based on the ingredients in the house, the menu is created.  Sort of sounds like Top Chef.  There is no doubt based on the menu that the creativity is there.  The issue is that nothing gets to be served night after night.  Perfecting a dish is kind of an important feature at a restaurant.  I am all for changing the menu seasonally but it is a challenge to change nightly to a restaurant with 100+ seats vs a restaurant with 34 seats. 

Buns
The first thing that arrived was the bread.  It appears that they kept the one thing that Craft Steak had going for it.  Their version of the Parker House rolls.  Nice.

Oyster
We split everything.  In a small pan came 3 butter-poached oysters with a small mound of celery root shaved into a tagliatelle shape ( pasta ) with a dollop of American caviar on top.  The butter dripping in the pan.  A total MO (mouth orgasm).  Creamy, sublime and a tad decadent.  Delicious. 

Pork
Our other appetizer was braised white beans served with spicy chorizo, roasted pork belly and pieces of octopus.  Clever, a great combination, a Spanish edge.  Good, well cooked, and good.  Not an omigod but good.

Monkfish
For the main course we opted for one fish and one meat.  For the fish, pancetta wrapped slices of monkfish over finely chopped braised red cabbage with a little black truffle vinaigrette.  The monk fish sliced up like butter.  The dish was beautiful in presentation.  But, the dish was really salty, the cabbage had way too much bite and the vinaigrette was too vinegary.  It looked fantastic but it wasn't.  Great for the photos not for the mouth.

Duck
Our meat, not that great either.  2 large hunks of duck that were way too thick.  The duck was roasted and had a spicy kick.  This was served over a sauerkraut with a licorice root and kumquat chutney.  The flavors just mushed today. Also, the cabbage wrapped piece on the plate was inedible.  It just wasn't that interesting.

Dessert
We did go for the dessert.  A tiny banana-pecan upside down cake infused with a rum caramel and banana sorbet on the side.  Nice, tasty.  They also gave us a treat of chocolate nut covered square pieces of toffee.  Well done.

To sum it up, the constant change is questionable.  Nice job on the reconfiguring the space.  Service is wonderful.  Great wine list.  There is a casual elegant feel which I really like.  I'd figure out the top dishes and stick with them.  The oysters were fabulous but I'd like to come back and see them on the menu.  It appears to be a work in progress.  I hope that they figure it out because I like it there.

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