You heard it here. Places like Cracco are done. We experienced Cracco last night. If the world isn't done yet, I am.
Cracco is a high end restaurant with food that doesn't resemble what you ordered. There was a time and a place for this and that would be before the economic downfall of the entire world. Over priced, ridiculously over the top and honestly, not that good.
The restaurant is minimal in decor. Pinkish beige walls with light washing over it. Leather chairs with straight lines. I actually didn't mind the simplicity of the place.
Us nasty Americans, nobody could read the menu, but the staff was happy to translate. There was the regular menu and the truffle menu. We went with the a la carte.
To start, they brought us out a bowl of deep fried fish balls, risotto balls, shrimp toast ( sort of ) and fois gras macarons. Nothing was omigod. Next out they brought a round smoky finger sandwich. The bread ( not really ) was made of thin caramel. Inside was a creamy savory filling with tiny carrots, peas and smoked ham. Very interesting and creative but whatever. The next I can't recall. One bite, didn't rock me at all. Looked like a piece of shaved mango ( pasta like ) over a strawberry concoction but that wasn't what it was.
Let's move on. For appetizers, Josh and I ordered off the truffle menu. They brought out the special truffle box before dinner and let us all take a whiff. It was as if we were being shown the golden ticket. I went with a raw chopped beef salad with a few pieces of pomegranate and a mixed salad and then of course, the white shaved truffles on top. Needed major salt and was quite bland. Josh had the basic pasta with butter and shaved truffles. A very sweet butter which ruined the whole effect. Fred had the pork belly with sea urchin. Interesting. The girls, I didn't even taste.
For all the entrees available, Josh and I chose the same thing and Fred and the girls did too. They had a fish which I didn't even bother tasting. I think it was this particular dish that made me loose all interest in the over the top, look at me I am an amazing chef type of restaurant. I went with veal Milanese. There were 2 napoleon looking pieces on my plate. The top was crusted with a panko and in between that was a roasted pureed pumpkin and sauteed spinach next to 3 pieces of cubed veal that had been deep fried served medium rare. So boring and so not that interesting or delicious.
We all passed on dessert although they brought out so many goodies for us to taste why on earth would you order dessert? Regardless, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. Ridiculously overpriced. Also, in Europe they generally add on the tip into the bill ( particularly at that price ) but here they did not. They came up to us afterward and said that we forgot to tip them. We had no cash, they would not let us charge is again so you know what….they lost out.
Here is my prediction for 2009. In the 1970's, early 80's in NYC there were a handful of top restaurants. Remember La Grenouille? That is what is going to happen next. Unless the food is fabulous and there is a serious clientele and following – that would be people who come maybe twice a year – the high end bullshit restaurants are done. It will be places where the food is really great and understandable is what will survive. If someone gave me a list, I could probably hedge some bets but as a whole, that is my gut prediction.
On the walk home, Natalie Cole was playing live in front of the Duomo. Very random.