Some restaurants are just cool. They always look good (but also like they didn’t try), they’re playing the new Kendrick Lamar song before you even knew it existed, and they put anchovies, figs, and yogurt on the same plate and somehow make it taste good. Craft is not one of those places. It’s the Reese Witherspoon of restaurants - definitely trying really hard, not particularly cool, but also extremely good at what it does. Which is exactly why we love it.
Chances are, if you’re not an agent or a lawyer or a frequent visitor to Candy Spelling’s penthouse, you’ve never been to Craft. It’s in Century City, and voluntarily going to Century City for dinner is probably not something you make a point of. It’s also the LA location of a Tom Colicchio restaurant in NYC - a series of words that usually only appeals to Top Chef superfans. And it involves things like an amuse bouche, a pre-dessert, and extremely good soundproofing. So yeah, Craft sounds pretty boring. And maybe it is, but only in the way that Oscar winners who managed to make you love Tracy Flick are boring.
Because it’s essentially impossible to have a bad time at Craft. Even if you’re not the head of WME, you’ll be treated like you are. Your wine glass will never be empty, and they even send you home with little baked goods that will put you in a good mood the next morning. There’s more of a vibe than you’d expect - the bar up front is always filled with office dwellers swapping war stories, and the dining room has tables spaced so you can do your business deal in peace.
And then there’s the food. You might look at the menu and think “meh”- but you’ll get over that feeling quickly. All the business dinner hits are present - expensive scallops, pieces of fish, salads, and very large $100 steaks - and they’re some of the best versions around.
Not all restaurants need to be playing Beastie Boys deep cuts or putting grapefruit slices on everything, and metaphorically shrugging their shoulders while doing it. Craft is a type A restaurant, which means it’s not the coolest - but it makes for an excellent eating experience. We suspect Reese would probably agree.
Quail and Cheddar Grits
We’d feel bad about eating such tiny little birds if they weren’t so tasty. These are simply and perfectly cooked (this will be a theme), and hang out on top of some cheesy grits. A good, if heavy, way to start.
Rigatoni, Italian Sausage, & Green Garlic
Well-cooked pasta with bit of fennel-y sausage, and even some healthy green things in there too. If people on your table are currently eating carbs, get this.
Diver Scallops & Vermouth Butter
There is no way on earth three scallops and some butter will ever be worth $34. But in all likelihood, you’re charging dinner on the company anyway. In which case, order right ahead.
A roast chicken is a roast chicken is a roast chicken. But this is a very good roast chicken, with salty, crispy skin and super-moist meat. Note that this comes on it’s own, so loading up on sides is highly recommended.
Yukon Gold Purée
Perfect. Just don’t think about the likely pound of butter in each serving.
Not many restaurants have a whole section of the menu devoted to different types of mushroom side dishes. Which means ordering mushrooms here is a requirement.
Warm Chocolate Tart
Not too chocolatey, not too caramely, not enough of the black date ice cream. There could never be enough of the black date ice cream.