Visited: 9/16/06, Saturday @ 7:00pm, Dinner w/Boyfriend
Ambience: Loud, loud, loud. The lighting was a little strange...I guess it was a very white, intense light instead of a soft, yellow. The restaurant is on the bottom floor of the W Hotel and you can watch the street traffic going by as you eat through a full bay of windows that are floor to ceiling. This is a relatively new restaurant, and the table where we sat had chairs on one side, and a bench on the other. Unfortunately, the bench was already VERY food stained and kind of grossy.
Service: Shane served us, and was unusual and quirky. He was very efficient but it was hard to get a smile out of him. I was surprised that in a restaurant of this size/caliber that there was not a sommelier. There was someone pretending to be one, but he definitely had little knowledge and no pride in his wine list. In fact, the wine we ordered (Qupe Syrah) came out with the wrong vintage. I find this practice prevalent in the Dallas area and very questionable and unsettling. I’m sorry, but vintages are important to wine.
Price: Not worth the cost (~$360 for 2)
We started with two glasses of Rodez Brut Rose, which we liked. Let me add here that I am SOOO disappointed with Texas. My favorite champagne... Billecart Salmon Brut Rose, can no longer be distributed here because of poor wine/champagne handling. Ranting, sorry. The Rodez was a decent substitute. A nice, dry champagne, but not a lot of fruit in the mouth of it.
Next, to pick the wine. The wine list was not impressive. In fact, I was in the mood for a nice, heavy zin, and the list only had two. TWO. Wow. So, that didn’t happen and we ended up with a Qupe Syrah, which was a decent wine. For ~$70, the wrong vintage came out and we were a little disappointed. I have had much, much better wines for the price. But hey... we went with something new. I do have to say I am upset with the deceptive practice of putting a great vintage on the menu and substituting a lesser vintage in actual practice. Sometimes I am sure it is just a “mistake” by not updating a wine list, but VINTAGES ARE IMPORTANT. I don’t know if at Craft it was a one time “mistake” or a habit.
Everything on the menu is ala carte, which is a great concept. You can make your own unique dinner each and every time you visit.
(Oysters on the Half shell) – Three Wellfleet and three Osprey oysters served with a mignonette sauce and the tiniest, weeniest Tabasco sauce I have ever seen (Very cool), on a bed of ice. The W Hotel has a certain reputation, so I was not too concerned about the freshness of the oysters here, but still glad they came out cold and odorless. They were wonderful with the champagne.
(Hamachi) – Nice pieces of Hamachi, left pretty much un-messed with. No real zip, or stand out features, but at least it was fresh.
(Tomato Salad) – Nothing to rave about here. The tomatoes were not that tasty, and when you are doing a purely tomato salad, they should really shine.
(Oregon Red King Salmon) – Again, nothing special. It was a good size piece of Salmon, but a little over cooked. King Salmon is so yummy, it was really too bad the preparation was off.
(Skate Wing) – The one stand out item of our dinner. It was lightly, and I mean really lightly, breaded with a fantastic coating and the fish just fell apart. Cooked to perfection, seasoned to perfection...Just a wonderful piece of skate. Highly Recommend.
(Swiss Chard) – We ordered a few side dishes and the chard was one of these. It was just Swiss Chard. Nothing special, nothing zippy, nothing to write about.
(Roasted Mushroom Assortment) - Now these mushrooms were great. What a lovely way to prepare mushrooms. I couldn’t get enough. Lightly roasted in olive oil, they were a tad crispy on the outside, but still springy on the inside. Lovely dish. Recommend.
We ended with our two favorite beverages and dessert:
Sauterne (Chateau Coutet Sauternes) – By the glass, 2002. A decent representation of a Sauterne.
Frangelico – lovely as always, even if a small sampling.
(Three Cheese Selection) -
1. Roncal, (sheep) Navarre, Spain
2. Fresh Chevre, (goat) Dallas, TX
3. Can’t remember
They were all ok, nothing standout.
Overall, I would have to say I was not enchanted with this restaurant. It seemed more about the see and be seen than about the food. For the price we paid, I expected more. For a high-end restaurant, I would have to give it a lowly 2 of 5 stars. Sorry.
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