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Craft: amazing joint!

RicRios | May 2, 200810:43 PM

Friday night, spousal unit decides to eat out.

You go Opentable, what the heck, let’s see which losers available.

Lo and behold, neighbor Craft is –at least on screen- wide open. OK, let’s make it 9 PM.
Of course, it turns out we show up 7:30. Whatever. Hostess looks around ( yeah, I know the looks, you need to dramatize a little bit, WTF, after all that’s what you’ve been trained for) and says we’ll need to wait a little. We contemporize, 1 ½ hrs in advance , our fault, let’s have a drink. In da Patio.

For Gds’sake, that’s the Terrace in Century City, 100% Quintessential LA, Charlie Chaplin would feel humbled btw all those high rises at .. what … $10 /SqFt???

Drinks girl dutifully shows up. I – maliciously, I know- ask for a Fernet Branca. Girl dubitates. Asks the classical “How you spell it?” I grin. F-E-R-N-E-T. She writes down, takes leave. I comment, preparing my next move:”Would they know what Vemouth means?” .
Lo ‘n behold, 10 minutes later girl shows up with … a bicchiero of Fernet Branca! In between, she ‘s informed herself, comments “Bitter, right, like cough syrup?” Yeah, I admit, that’s what I like, if it’s bitter it must be good.

At minute 20 we say “at 21 we quit”, 20.5 hostess shows up. We’ve been keeping watch, nobody in or out, so place must be empty, right? WRONG, place is full. Beats me.
Dutifully accomodated in a HUGE table enough for 4, maybe even 6 skinny ones. Fancy schmancy. Spousal unit complains re dress code. I – as usual- admonish WTF. Waitress shows up. Clueless but witty, my type. I uncork my stuff, unceremoniously. Appropriate stems show up. Good sign.

Our choices: sweetbreads, chard, asparagus, flatiron, polenta. All served –we’re warned- family style. OK.

First round shows up in due course. Amazing! Chard & asparagus are in season, I know. But you don’t get chardy chards and asparagusy asparagus just like that, it takes a lot of knowhow to get the simplicity out of the complexity out of the simplicity, it you know what I mean. Which prompts the question: who’s the cook? Answer: Matteo Accarrino. DAYS OFF: SUN-MON. (I give it to you folks at cost, OK?) And I’m forgetting the sweetbreads. Milanesa style, impaled in a stick of fennel, creamy inside, just a-mazing.

I feel out of place ( “depaysé” ). Hey, in the middle of TinselHiriseTown , you’re not supposed to have anything real, it just needs to look good, you go thru da motions, the rest is all fake, right? Well. The sweetbreads are out of this world, and I’ve had my share of SBds, let me tell’ya.

Next the flatiron & polenta shows up. Wow! Perfect muscle cooked as requested ( “À point” ). But that polenta, mamma mia! Coarse grits, quintessential corn, creamy & tasty & corn-smelly. It takes a long practice to make something so simple taste so perfect. No words can describe it.

Needless to say, our 1996 Abadia Retuerta Pago Negralada Reserva is right on the spot.

Time for desserts. What about the chocolates-to-go? Pastry chef Catherine Schimenti accomodates. Spec-takular ( like our beloved pressy says nu-kular). I’m licking my lips as I type.

La dolorosa? It comes up to $146, after tax and before tip. Corkage waived. Plus $8 valet parking. Let me tell ya folks: a) (again) I’m giving this to you at cost, b) place is a-mazing, c) ignore the hype, d) don’t go SUN-MON ( or please do & report back! ).

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