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More Week in Reviews: Craft

In a special Week in Reviews, we have critiques of Tom Colicchio's Craft from Los Angeles Magazine and a special bonus from Angeleno. While we liked what the chefs were serving at AWFF, Colicchio noted the negativity afoot in LA. We asked how the restaurant was doing and he said, "Great!" and mumbled something like "except for the reviews." He must be referring to these.

LA MAGAZINE: Patric Kuh comes right out and says it in the October issue: "Craft Los Angeles is a serious disappointment."

If there’s a nurturing undercurrent to Colicchio’s style, this restaurant lacks it entirely. At the moment there is little reason to go. I wouldn’t say it is welcoming. I’ve had five dinners there and have never been able to get a table after 5:30 (only to spot plenty of free seats at 8). I wouldn’t say it is refined. The waitstaff is unsynchronized, forgetting to bring cutlery or plates before the food arrives and leaving tables uncleared until attention is brought to that fact. I wouldn’t even say it is good. I’ve spent $1,600 at Craft Los Angeles and enjoyed enough dishes for one superior meal.
Kuh has little love for the meats and main courses, except the quail, and says the side dishes shine most. He suffered the 5:30pm reservation rule, and lived to tell about it. "So far, Craft Los Angeles feels like the creation of an overextended celebrity." [LAM]

ANGELENO: In the September issue of Angeleno, Brad Johnson has a similar experience, summed up best in the lede: "A lost reservation, a mouthful of gristle, a truckload of salt and two screaming infants made it difficult to fall in love with what should have been one of the best new restaurants of the year." He did not enjoy the steak (the gristle culprit), a fish dish didn't have its fennel, and then there was the salt:

Chef/owner Tom Colicchio is well-known to TV audiences as the chef/mentor/judge on the reality series Top Chef. I’ve never actually seen the show, so I didn’t recognize him when he strolled past my table several times on different nights. A guest on my second visit pointed him out, and I was surprised to see him—because if Colicchio was indeed
in the kitchen overseeing things (and, presumably, tasting the food), then why was everything so extremely salty
This coming from a man who carries around his own salt! Fans of the show must be giggling right now because that's exactly what Colicchio always reams the cheftestants for: overly salting, spicing, peppering (in fact, he complains about it in our interview with him). Johnson also got the lackluster 5:30pm reservation. Real dining times must be reserved for all those CAA suits. [Angeleno]

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