Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Colicchio Delivers at NYC Hotspot


900 Broadway
New York, NY 10003

In preparation of our day of fun-filled craft beer festivities, we decided to have brunch at CraftBar in NYC. We often wait with baited breathe for our culinary guilty pleasure; Top Chef. The most recognizable person and mainstay on the show is Tom Colicchio. Tom always seems extremely well balanced and insightful when judging the contestants, and we have both always wanted to try one of his restaurants. We made a reservation and were seated right away. After ordering drinks, we began to browse the menu. There a lot of great options to choose from, but we eventually made our decisions. 

We decided to begin with the Charcuterie assortment to share. The assortment came with Mortadella, Speck Biellese, Chicken Liver Pate, Smoked Pig Head Terrine, and Pastrami Wagyu Beef Tongue. The standout of the sampler was the Pastrami Wagyu Beef Tongue, it was lean and delicious. The Mortadella and Speck Biellese were also very enticing, especially when paired with the olive tapenade and house made sweet pickles. The Pate was buttery and luscious, and was balanced well with the mustard seeds on top. Even non-adventurous foodies should try it!. The only one we did not particularly care for was the Smoked Pigs Head Terrine, it was gelatinous and the flavor was not enough to get past the texture. Overall, we recommend trying this!

After reading multiple reviews on different food websites, we knew we wanted to order the Rissotto Balls. The Pecorino risotto was creamy and the perfect consistency. The flavors were strong, and definitely had an extra layer of depth that most rice balls don't have. The tomato sauce had an inherent spiciness to it, that was not overpowering, but rather a perfect compliment to the risotto balls. It was immediately clear why people raved about these.
The pictures of swine that take up most of the back wall enticed us to order a side of Bacon. Not much to over analyze about this side dish. It was smoked, thick, delicious, and we all had no complaints.

One of us ordered the Craftbar “Double Stack” Burger with pawlet, bacon jam, pickled onions, oven roasted tomato, and bibb lettuce. This was honestly the best burger we've ever had. Juicy and cooked perfectly. The bacon jam was an ingenious addition. We added a piece of our side of bacon to the burger, not because it wasn't already amazing, but because this made it even more amazing. Highly recommend ordering it. 
The Veal Ricotta Meatball Hero was served with both provolone and parmigiana. The meatballs were moist and flavorful. The marinara sauce again had a hint of spiciness, but complimented the sweet element of the Ricotta. The only negative was the Hero bread itself. The bread was slightly soft and did not really support the bold flavors of the meatball and sauce. 
The Eggplant & Goat Cheese Panino contained marinated eggplant, eggplant chutney, goat cheese, and mixed greens. It was a good panini, but nothing special. The salty goat cheese was well-balanced with the sweet eggplant. It was a tasty sandwich that we would be unable to make on our own, but nothing special. We would try something knew over this next time.
One of us decided to be different and order breakfast, and we're glad they did! The Eggs Benedict was made with the normal poached egg, English muffin, and hollandaise, but also smoked salmon, a side of potatoes, and mixed greens. The eggs were cooked flawlessly, the hollandaise perfectly seasoned, and the salmon was a smokey and savory addition. Overall one of the best Eggs Benedict we've ever had. 
Overall we're really glad we chose to eat brunch at CraftBar. The restaurant itself was cool and resembled an industrial farmhouse. This chic hotspot of Tom Colicchio did not disappoint us and cemented, in our minds, his role as seasoned chef and head judge on Top Chef. We hope to try some of his other restaurants in the future. 

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