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Week in Reviews: Craft Gets Three, and Kumo, Lark Cake Shop and More Elsewhere

Tom Colicchio must feel vindicated this morning. First, he's taken down by two top LA critics (Partric Kuh and Brad Johnson), then he's stripped of his Michelin star in NYC. But to have the LAT proclaim Century City's Craft worthy of everything the Colicchio brand promises, well, it must just feel good. Even though sweeping statements like "California cuisine (and Italian and Mediterranean cooking) has dominated L.A. for so long that we've almost forgotten there's some equally compelling cooking on the other coast" are utterly ridiculous (if true, why all the fuss in the first place?), Miss Irene is as smitten with the Colicchio concept as a Top Chef fan is with his smirk:

THIS is modern American cooking -- unfussy, direct, strong. Colicchio's food is not intellectual -- and that's a compliment. It's lustful, mature cooking from a chef who doesn't have to show off. No question he's an East Coast chef and not a surfer dude: Just taste how much butter he uses. It's also evident in the generous portions. He cooks for people who like to eat.
Colicchio's rarely there, and if he is, he's not behind the stoves, but it's still all him. It's as if Miss Irene is talking directly to the naysayers, the hordes of people who tried Craft in its early days and passed judgment. She makes a point of saying that it was shaky at first, but it's smooth now. As if she's telling LA Magazine and Angeleno, which have much longer lead times, to go back. Really, it's good now. Go back. There are a few hiccups (why still serve with forks when it should be spoons?) but according to her, the positive outweigh the negs. The fact that she was recognized by the manager on her first visit (true) probably helped for the subsequent four: She gets to sit in a power booth, and nothing can go wrong in the power booth. Craft gets a whopping three stars. Today the "S." stands for "sweet justice." [LAT]

ELSEWHERE: Caroline would go back to Kumo for drinks, but not for the $14 appetizer; Real Food Daily can almost please a non-vegan; Lark Cake Shop's carrot cake is "fanizzletastic"; the The Gumbo Pot's alligator tasts great, less Reggie; The 150k: 150,000 calories consumed at Mozza, Ludobites, Milk; and late night bites at Little Toni's.

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