Quick plug...I went on a walking tour (and lunch) at Blue Hill at Stone Barns this weekend. You can see my photo essay of sorts on my blog. Thanks, sorry for the shameless plug.
Went to Craftbar on Friday night for a quick bite before checking out the Allman Brothers at the Beacon Theater(disappointing concert by the way...possibly one of the worst of more than 20 Allman Brothers shows I've been to).
I sat at the bar and immediately noticed the difference since my last visit.
Craftbar 3.0 as I like to call it, has reverted back to something more like its original incarnation. High quality ingrediants made into very professional dishes at a reasonable price point. Version 2.0 went for somethink more akin to Craft and suffered for it.
But 3.0 seems slightly sloppier than either version 1.0 or 2.0. The Craftbar t-shirts of the staff all seemed to be wrinkled and untucked and it took close to twenty minutes for me to get a panini sandwich which is a bit absurd. Fortunately the bartender, Michael (formerly of Morrel's Wine Bar), was nice enough and a friend of his on my side of the bar provided some entertainment. The sparkling wine that I had was pretty good (the first bottle was flat, so we had to open a new one) but the list of sparkling wines has shrunk considerably from version 2.0.
I ordered the duck prosciutto, taleggio and hen of the woods panini. The combination seemed so powerful that I just had to see if it actually worked. This was more of a desire to try something to see if it would fail than because I had the appetite for it.
The dish, when it finally arrived, was indeed a strong and powerful dish. The ingredients are not for the timid but the results were pretty good. The second piece of sandwich, oddly, was more even. The first piece was overwhelmed with hen of the woods. But the second one allowed me to savor each of the ingredients on their own. So in a way, it did work.
However...this dish is past its prime. I am so over hen of the woods mushrooms. I know Craft put the damn fungus on the map, but its time is past due. At least for this half of 2006. A dish like this should only be served from October-January. Bring on RAMPS!
Otherwise, the restaurant is much more approachable than it was in version 2.0. But I think they need to tidy up a bit.