Tom Colicchio, the head judge of Bravo’s emmy award-winning Top Chef, usually has harsh criticism for the up and coming contestants. But taking one bite of his mouth watering creations at the flagship Craft Restaurant, you’ll understand why he is so harsh. Every single dish at this upscale New American restaurant is absolutely served to perfection.
Deemed as the pioneer of mix-and-match mains and sides, Craft’s menu is an a la carte dream with every dish as tasty as the next. From the famous rustic Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms to the succulent sirloin steak main and even the minor side of gnocchi would make most (Italian) chefs cry. The back-to-basics cooking style Colicchio employs lets the ingredients shine and for the diner, it elevates the experience of the simplest and most unglamorous dishes, like corn, into a shining yellow pot of gold.
The decor of Craft reflects the clean yet rustic menu. The tables, floors, and bar are made of an oak wood, but the design has clean lines as if it were a modern fusion restaurant. The tables are abnormally large, a trend, like the upscale family-style menu, that has followed to most high-end Manhattan restaurants, to accommodate all the tasty dishes.
With culinary and restaurateur imitators galore, it’s no wonder Colicchio and Craft have swept up three stars from the New York Times and numerous prestigious James Beard Awards. Oh, and don’t forget, the title of the real “Top Chef.”
Nestled in a perfect Gold Coast locale, the Sofitel Hotel is a hubbub of activity: business people staying, cool locals hanging, and enough gorgeous French people to star in a Sophia Coppola film. Within the hotel lies the delicious Cafe des Architectes with its partner bar, the aptly named Le Bar.
No matter the day or time, people watching here is like eating candy: sweet and energizing. But of course, the people are here for the cuisine. After all, the chef, Martial Noguier was a semifinalist in the James Beard Best Chef of 2009 competition! He will also be starring in his television debut on the upcoming Glutton for Punishment on the Food Network.
His culinary skills have also lent a hand in making Cafe des Architectes a hotspot for Christmas and NYE dining. The five-course menu starts at $89 and goes up to $160 with wine pairings. From short rib tortellini to veal strips and center cut tuna – you will actually need and want to save room for executive pastry chef Suzanne Imaz’s delectable creations like the white chocolate coconut mousse!
Year round this cozy-chic eatery remains a hotspot for food, drinks and gorgeous patrons serving brunch, lunch, dinner and the worker-friendly executive 30-minute lunch. Merci Noguier!
Having fun and experimenting with the menu is what it’s all about at Michy’s, the swanky, hip restaurant created by James Beard Foundation-winning chef Michelle Bernstein. Named after her childhood nickname, Michy’s is a reflection of her Cuban and Jewish heritage.
This cozy spot is the perfect match for a menu filled with original creations that beckons hints of her Cuban background with an added twist and flair from other countries. At this place, sharing is encouraged with dishes served as half or full sized. So go ahead, reach across the table, and take a piece of the crispy serrano ham and blue cheese croquettes served with a tangy, sweet fig marmalade; the crisp pork belly nectarine salad, soy ginger vinaigrette and spicy pickled radishes; or steak frites churrasco, house made fries with bearnaise and au povre dipping sauces.
Wash it all down with a suave Miami-inspired champagne mojito. Ahhh, now that’s refreshing!