Architecturally, Craftsteak is really beautiful. The bar area, which is completely separate from the restaurant by a cellared wall of wine, it is quite large. Lots of light, steel, glass, etc. Simple, modern and elegant at the same time. The first round of reviews on Craftsteak were abysmal. I decided that it wasn’t worth checking it out. Over time, there have been rumblings about a change in the kitchen. The location worked out perfectly for last night and I really do love the feel of the place. I figured, be bold, what the hell.
I could say that Steak restaurants in the city are all the same and mostly good but that would be lying. Each have their own vibe and every place has its own flavor. My favorite steak houses in the city are Peter Luger (so old school) and The Strip House. I have never gone wrong at either of those locations. I know there are many others in the city but these are the two I recommend. You could go wrong at Craftsteak and pay the price, literally.
There is corn-fed steak from a variety of locations around the country, grass-fed steak from just a few places and waygu beef from just a select few too. Some steaks are aged ( from 28-72 days) and there are also different entrees if you choose to opt out of steak. Frankly, if you are at a steak house, I think you should eat steak. Like Craft, Colicchio’s first restaurant, there are side dishes that you can get fried, pureed, gratin, braised, etc. Everything is a la carte.
We began with some kumamoto oysters which were small, plump and full of flavor. A nice way to get the juices flowing. Then we dug into the steak. There were four of us. Ordering as a group only works out when everyone likes their steak served the same way. We were sort of all over the place but all agreed on medium-rare. Personally, I am all about rare, even blue, just cooked. We split a Corn-fed porterhouse from Niman Ranch in California and a 42-day aged New York Strip from Niman Ranch too. All good but not great. I can’t put my finger on it. There was flavor but not flavor where I want to reach over and gnaw at the bone.
For the sides, we have french fries which came out super crispy just like I like them. Escarole that had been braised but there was something funky in the taste, maybe bacon. We also had a mixture of roasted mushrooms which were simple and delicious. We were each able to have one nice heaping spoonful of those mushrooms for $22 among the four of us.
Dessert looked interesting. We had the donuts. It is tough to screw up fried dough. We also had a banana upside down cake that was almost caramelized over chocolate sauce with a dollop of cinnamon ice cream. This was really creative and good.
Loved the company. We probably would have continued to gab forever without ordering. Glad we went. Not racing back but I do like the bar. It is in my neighborhood. Might be stopping by for a drink and perhaps one item off the menu to split but not sure about the steak.