>> Thursday, April 5, 2012
Growing up in an Asian family, eating dinner together every evening was a must. Everyone had to be at the table and the dishes were always served in the middle and shared amongst everyone. It was a time used to catch up and bond as a family. To me, this was the norm. It never even occurred to me that not everybody dined like this and definitely not on a daily basis. That most often people ate with a plate of food in front of the TV or on the go. The so called “family style” dining, only ever occurred during celebrations or gatherings. Needless to say I was shocked at first, but now that I’m older and time is more limited, I realize how easy it is to fall in to those habits. However, I tend to make an effort to follow in my family’s footsteps and dine family style everyday with my husband. So it’s even more special to me when I go out to restaurants that allow me to do that and Craft LA is definitely based on that concept.
Atmosphere: A beautifully open and warm dining area with large windows highlighting a neutral wood accented interior.
Price Range: Mid $10s - $40+
Food and Wine: After being seated and admiring the warm color tones especially under the great dim lighting, we ordered and it was fairly shortly afterwards that our server arrived with the amuse bouche of Leek and Potato Soup. The soup was creamy and light, the leek bringing a bit of brightness and contrast to the dish. It was just the right amount to start off the evening.
Since the concept of all of the Craft restaurants is to serve the food family style, our appetizers came in that fashion. Lucking out and having it be LA dining week, Craft served all of their appetizers as the first course instead of having their patrons pick and choose and I’m glad they did. I would have hated missing any one of these dishes. The first appetizer was a Chicken Liver Mousse served with crispy shallots and house made crisps. The pâté was smooth and flavourful. There was a good amount of it as well and it lasted us the whole evening, not because we didn’t like it, but because I was trying to preserve eat bite. The Blood Orange and Fennel Shrimp were extremely light and sweet. The shrimp cooked to perfection and really allowed to shine is the tangy sauce. The Wintergreen Salad with gorgonzola and walnuts was something special indeed. We’ve never tasted such amazing greens during the winter. They were crisp and crunchy, had a very nice texture and flavour that I have never tasted before and we’re still wondering why type of leaves they were!
Since the portion sizes were so generous, we were already satiated, but there was no holding back. We continued on to our mains. I ordered the Short Rib Ravioli served in a mushroom broth. The dish came with three big raviolis covered with pecorino cheese. Every bite was a burst of flavour, the earthiness of the mushrooms complimenting the soft tender short ribs and al dente paste shell. The husband ordered the Skate Wing, which was super crispy contrasting perfectly with the parsnip purée and sweet swiss chard. Both were amazing in their own unique ways and I wished I had a chance to try the rest of the mains because they all sounded incredible. We also ordered an extra side of Roasted Beets, which were sweet and tender, a nice addition to the meal (although we were beyond stuffed).
For dessert, we were again served in a family style manner with a Chocolate Ganache Cake, Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Banana Gelato. I’m a sucker for ice cream and gelato so it didn’t take long before they were both devoured. Having a bit of this and a bit of that really created some interesting flavours. The chocolate ganache was dark and decadent, luckily the gelato was just the opposite and mixing the all three felt like I was eating a dark chocolate dipped banana with caramel. If I had to pick though, the salted caramel ice cream would be my favourite (just barely though, they were all so good). Just when we thought we were finished, they brought out some candied nuts and snickerdoodle cookies and additional granola as a take home gift! What a fantastic idea!
With our meal we had the option to do wine pairings and decided to go with it. I had the Nero d’Avola from Sicily, earthy and peppery; it complimented the braised short ribs nicely. The hubby was paired with a Viognier from the local Santa Barbara Bonaccorsi winery. It was grassy with just the right amount of acid to pair with the oiliness of the fish.
My Picks: Chicken Liver Pâté, Winter Greens and Beef Short Rib Ravioli
Overall: It wasn’t the first time I’ve had the Craft restaurant experience and this definitely doesn’t signify the last either. I enjoy both the food and the concept because really what’s more important then good food and family?
10100 Constellation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA