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Colicchio & Sons, NYC


Colicchio & Sons

Chef: Tom Colicchio
Cuisine: American Nouveau
Neighborhood: Meatpacking District
Price: $55 per person for a two course meal (à la carte) + tax / tip / wine
Tasting Menu (8 courses) is available for $125 + optional wine pairing $65
Phone: (212) 400-6699
Address: 85 10th Avenue, NYC 10011


When I first moved to NYC three years ago, Craftbar was one of my favorite restaurants.  It occupies a large, beautiful space in the Flatiron District, complete with a swanky bar and a towering wine rack elevated above the diners that is only accessible by a narrow catwalk.  The restaurant serves generous portions of Tom Colicchio’s famous farm-to-table cuisine at affordable prices (relative to its sister restaurants Craft and Craftsteak) and provides some of the most pleasant service.  Craftbar is sleek and elegant, but its massive scale evokes a very commercial feel — the same “big box” ambiance many other trendy MePa restaurants, such as Buddakan and Spice Market, evoke.

As I became more imbibed in the New York culture,  I started to opt for more hole-in-the-wall restaurants that specialized in a niche flavor.  However, once in a while when I have a large group or visitors, it is always good to go to the big box restaurants as there always is something for everyone.  Tom Colicchio’s restaurants are among my more highly recommended “crowd-pleaser” restaurants; the ambiance is great, servers are affable, and the food is always satisfactory.

Before 85 Tenth Avenue became Colicchio & Sons, the space was Tom’s Craftsteak restaurant for four years.  Shockingly, the $100 steaks on the menu did not survive the recent economic downturn and Tom decided to close the steakhouse and transform the space into something a little more personal.  While the gargantuan space still elicits the feeling of entering the Metropolitan Museum, the menu is really what Tom was referring to when he said “personal” (as well as the restaurant’s name).  The menu at Colicchio & Sons draws heavily from the cuisine served at the intimate Tom’s Tuesday Dinner, which was a temporary venture where Tom would personally prepare dinners in an open kitchen  every other Tuesday for guests in Craft’s private dining room.  At Tom’s Tuesdays, the dishes were crafted based on whatever was available in the market that day.  Colicchio & Sons’ main dining room menu serves many of the dishes Tom created for his Tuesday Dinners with heavy emphasis on using seasonal and artisanal ingredients that inspire him.

At the front of the restaurant is the casual Tap Room, which has its own separate menu from the main Dining Room.  The Tap Room menu is slightly fancier than a typical bar menu, but considerably more economically friendly than the Dining Room’s (3 courses for $25 for Brunch and Lunch).  I have not eaten there, but the Tap Room essentially appears to be a mini Craftbar.

Past the wood-burning oven is the colossal wine rack centerpiece, which separates the Tap Room from the Dining Room.  The Dining Room is a beautiful space with sleek wood tables and floors that are illuminated by the modern vertical lights hanging from the lofty ceiling.  Our server was very friendly and offered some great recommendations for our dinner and accompanying wine.  We had a lovely bottle of 2004 Ruston Family La Maestra  from Napa Valley (Red Bordeaux blend, $80).

Sadly, the restaurant was out of the Skirt Steak with Horseradish-crusted Short Rib Bone Marrow Ravioli & Edamame that night (really wanted to try that bone marrow ravioli!)  but the other dishes we ordered were impeccable in presentation and taste.  My favorite dishes were the Bi-color Corn Agnolotti, Lamb Loin, and Spice-Roasted Lola Duck.  I was not a huge fan of any of the bacon / pork belly / pig-originated dishes we tried here.  The fluffy, buttery bread we had to start was also worth raving about.  It reminded me of a much fancier version of King’s Hawaiian rolls, and I sincerely mean that as a compliment.

AMUSE-BOUCHE:

CORN SOUP WITH HEIRLOOM TOMATOES AND CHIVES
Deliciously creamy, silken texture and quite refreshing!

FIRST COURSES:

HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD WITH MARKET HERBS & BENTON’S BACON
I felt this was a bit plain (which loosely translates to “healthy”) and not worth $18 but Natalya was a fan.



FRESH PORK BELLY, SPICED CAPONATA & BENTON’S SMOKED PORK
I didn’t particularly enjoy this pigfest dish, the preparation and texture of the pork belly was just not my taste.


BI-COLOR CORN AGNOLOTTI, SUMMER TRUFFLE & HUITLACOCHE
I love corn and truffles.  I am biased.  I wanted to lick the plate clean of the sauce.



SECOND COURSES:

SPICE-ROASTED LOLA DUCK WITH CHERRY & BUCKWHEAT CRÊPE
The duck was very flavorful with a spicy pizazz; the accompanying foie gras baked balls were a fun idea, but a bit dry


ROASTED HUDSON VALLEY RABBIT WITH CHANTERELLES, BABY CARROT & HIBISCUS
I wish I could put chanterelles on everything.  I admit I was more into the vegetables than the rabbit, but the meat was also quite succulent.

LAMB LOIN WITH TOMATO CONFIT, BABY ZUCCHINI & FENNEL GNOCCHI
Lamb loin was perfectly cooked and savory, and all the vegetables and fennel gnocchi were delicious!


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