There have been quite a few less than thrilling reports about meals at Craftbar and truth be told, my last couple of meals there had been fine but less than exciting.
So I was so happy when I went with two out-of-town friends tonight and enjoyed my favorite meal there ever. All our dishes seemed to be a study in brown, orange, or yellow -- autumn has definitely arrived.
The risotto balls and pecorino and pepperoncini starters were both fabulous, and the reliable prosciutto and arugula sandwich was terrific, as always.
But the big surprise was two of the better entrees I've ever sampled - a baked rigatoni with wild mushrooms (including devilishly tasty menus) and after several tries before, a fabulous rabbit dish that unfortunately was a special, two big legs braised with olives, wine, and what tasted like a combination of stock and mushrooms. Nary a taste of tomato in any of these dishes. The roast squash on the side was fabulous.
We could only manage to share one dessert among us, and that was a triumph -- a honey cake (with a toasted consistency) with vanilla ice cream and poached pear.
Along with the usual friendly, informal service and some relatively inexpensive wines by the glass from everywhere but the U.S. or Europe, I remembered again why Craftbar is such a special place.
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