Craft

So you should know by now how much I adore Tom Colicchio and his Bravo TV show TOP CHEF. I’ve been to a bunch of the restaurants of the contestants, and also to Beach Craft in Miami Beach, which of course belongs to Tom Colicchio, head judge of TOP CHEF. 
It was about time I made a visit to his eatery Craft right here in New York City.
With my daughter and her bestie Melissa, who is an accomplished blogger and a family friend, in tow, I finally arrived to dinner at his stunning restaurant. The decor is rustic without losing its elegance, it’s family and group friendly with tables that can be extended with the flick of a wrist. You feel engulfed in warmth the minute you step inside. His meals are prepared family style with local and seasonal ingredients.
Lucky for us we were served an amuse-bouche, which was sip of Butternut Squash soup with almonds and chives, a great welcome. We then started off with Oysters (of course), amazing. Melissa had a simple Arugula salad with lemon about which she raved. Our meal consisted of the Beef Short Rib (oh my God), and a Monkfish wrapped in Speck with burnt lemon sauce, simply amazing. Our sides were whipped potatoes, broccoli, Bussels sprouts and cippolini onions.
Dessert was a Mascarpone cheesecake with grapefruit, caramelized white chocolate and hibiscus, are you kidding me….. This was without question one of my favorite meals, maybe just to be outdone by my meal at Beach Craft. Maybe not. We all know how much Tom dislikes too many ingredients (or at least I feel we should know}, so all of the food was so simple, yet so full of taste. Just incredible. After our meal the Assistant GM Anna Cabbales was so gracious to give us a little tour of the restaurant and the kitchen downstairs. It was like Christmas for me, what a treat! All around I can’t say enough about what a great experience I had.
P. S. please excuse the poor picture quality of the dessert…..

Catch

Top Chef winner of season 3 is Hung Huynh. After his win he opened up Catch together with EMM restaurant group. Unfortunately shortly after opening he left due to some disagreements. I still had to give it a shot, being that it has a pretty good reputation. I actually went during Restaurant Week just a few weeks ago. I took the elevator up to the main floor, and then was escorted to an even higher level via the elevator after a brief wait at the bar. This restaurant has a very clubby crowd, fun people having fun everywhere! It is not for the faint of heart. It is however for trendy people who love a good meal while people watching.
My appetizer was a MRC Roll, a sushi roll of seared tuna, shrimp and Ponzu butter. It as actually named after the building that houses the restaurant, the MRC Bulding. My main course was Grilled Mahi Mahi with Kabayaki butter.  The dessert was a S’mores Pizza with burnt Marshmallow ice cream and chocolate. Lord have mercy, what a great meal. Being a biased Top Chef fanatic, I’m sure it would have been even better with Hung still there, but the food was honestly delicious and luxurious. It is an experience unlike any other restaurant in New York!


‘Wichcraft

Ok while we’re on the topic of Tom Colicchio, why not make a quick stop at one of his sandwich places in the city? Don’t mind if I do. Let me begin by saying how clever I think the name of this Sandwich Shop chain is!! Pure genius. Wichcraft has numerous locations in the city (I chose the one at Rockefeller Center). The menu consists of breakfast items, sandwiches, soups and salads, and desserts. All food is prepared from clean, healthy and sustainable ingredients, which makes it a winner in and of itself.
Although the menu is pretty typical, the items themselves are off the beaten path. The ingredients and taste combinations are totally out of the box and different from your ordinary sandwich shop.
I stopped by on my way to work, so I got myself breakfast AND lunch. Breakfast was a Fried Egg Sandwich with Bacon, Gorgonzola cheese and frisee on Ciabatta bread. Lunch was a Heritage Smoked Ham Sandwich, which was pressed with poached pears, dijon mustard and aged cheddar on grilled cranberry pecan bread. This wasn’t only delicious, it was refreshingly different…. Bravo! No pun intended!

Once again I can’t express how grateful I am to live here in New York, where an amazing bite is never far away. I had a bout of the flu in the past few days, but I am ready for spring, which is fast approaching! Can’t wait…