Craftbar nails casual fine dining: high-end food with more accessible pricing and a more laid-back atmosphere than pricier restaurants such as Craftbar’s sister restaurant in the Tom Colicchio Crafted Hospitality empire, Craft. There is creativity in the menu, but it doesn’t feel overdone, and the comfort dishes, such as the house-smoked kielbasa, don’t seem out of place. The service was excellent, an it was a nice touch when they printed a personal happy birthday message on each of the paper menus for our party, and rolled one up for the birthday boy to take home at the end of the meal.

As many restaurants as there are in New York, few attempt and succeed at casual fine dining as well as Craftbar. I’ve found restaurants with comparable menus tend to add white table cloths and pricey tableware as an excuse to charge more, with no other incremental changes. It’s refreshing to be able to go somewhere for a quality meal without exorbitant prices. We liked the ricotta agnolotti and lamb neck osso buco, which, at $22 and $27, respectively, aren’t cheap, but I’ve seen similar dishes at other estalishments priced at least 10-20% higher simply because the ambience was a tad more formal.

Give me the wood tables and chairs and the more affordable bill for a great relaxed dining experience, and I’m happy at Craftbar. There are plenty of other places in New York I can go to for the white table cloth experience.


Rating System Guidelines:
4 Stars: outstanding, cannot wait to return
3 Stars: great, would be happy to return
2 Stars: good, though not necessary to seek out
1 Star: forgettable, ought to dine elsewhere

My rating is meant to account for not just the quality of the meal and experience, but also the value, without favoring the ultra expensive. In other words, a high-end restaurant (e.g. Del Posto) and a casual eatery (e.g. BaoHaus) can both receive 4/4 stars, even though they are extremely different atmospheres and the former is clearly “nicer.”




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