Photo: Bjorg Magnea
The minute you walk through the doors of Craft in the heart of Century City you forget you’re in L.A., in a good way. This chic, sleek restaurant has the look and feel of pure New York with smart suits, serious business meetings and people that can speak and love to eat. This is not just for stargazing, where the malnourished pose to see and be seen. It’s high end grazing for those that like to play the foodie field for real. So, leave your calorie counting and name-dropping at the door.
We popped in on a Hollywood hump night and the place was packed, teeming with urban energy. Oddly, we were two of very few women in the room, a rare sight in the land of the LA. Most tables were filled with business peeps, attorneys and Hollywood honchos navigating their way through the menu while negotiating through a deal.
The formidable, no nonsense Tom Colicchio of Top Chef and New York’s famed Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Wichcraft and Craftbar has set up shop in the thick of Century City’s business district, steps away from CAA’s (top LA talent agency) glossy glass doors. We’re told it’s the power lunch spot by day where you are more likely to see agents flexing their deal making muscles with their hungry (literally) talent in tow.
The only notable face we saw was Steve Bing (an investor), Elizabeth Hurley and Sheryl Crow’s ex whose favorite restaurant in New York is Craft. Bing tried to recreate the look and feel of the New York Craft in LA. Well done you.
The menu is initially overwhelming, which calls for a sense of adventure and level of engagement in the dining process. So, step up! Craft is all about family style, a perfect option for the noncommittal ADD peeps of LA and it’s a great way to try a handful of hits on the menu, which changes daily.
The staff was tiptop, serious about service, well versed with their wines and ready to fill in the culinary gaps. There’s a mix, a long list of starters, mains, sides and desserts. The dishes are rich, but the sizes are just enough, not too much. After breaking bread, which had a hint of licorice, we had the Pork Terrine starter that every one was raving about, which was excellent and the fois gras terrine, which was truly decadent.
You really can’t miss with this innovative menu. From the Australian Wagyu Beef Carpaccio, the Tuna Tartare and Sashimi and the Baby Beet & Gorgonzola salad, it was a blissful start. I could make a meal on the salad alone, it was that good.
Continuing in a meaty mindset, there’s the baby lambs and the Japanese New York Strip or for fish lovers the Alaskan Halibut in Bacon Broth or the New Zealand Bass.
The wine list is excellent and extensive, but it’s never a good idea to drink and drive. So, if you opt for the wine, let your waiter drive you through the vines. They know just the right direction to head in. Unlike many servers in LA, they actually know what they are doing, will make excellent suggestions and will pair per plate if suggested. It’s a smooth ride. I especially loved their interesting list of Eclectic Reds and Curious Reds.
As we sipped our late harvest wine with our dessert, it was a great Hollywood ending to a perfect culinary story. But like any great love story, it ended too soon and left me aching for more. I’ll be back!