New York, New York
I have a scale I employ when rating food and drink. It's called the Lupa scale - based on Lupa Osteria in New York city, a Mario Batali establishment. Lupa is the absolute best eating experience I've had in the United States. Best ambiance, best staff, best prices, best wine and best food. It is a mind blowing experience. Since my first visit to Lupa nothing compares. Thus, I rate all of my dining experiences on a scale of 1-10. 10 being the equivalent of the all-amazing Lupa Osteria.
Tonight I went to craftbar in New York City to check out what I've heard is a great experience. I give it a 7 on the Lupa scale. I had a glass of a Spanish Malbec, the baby beat and goat cheese salad and a serving of the Cavetelli Bolognese for my entree. There was nothing wrong with my meal, nothing to complain about, nothing overcooked or overdone. It was just lacking something exciting. Maybe I'm so spoiled now that I've come to a stage in my life where I expect to be moved by every dining experience and when I'm not, I leave with a sense of disappointment. I know Tom Collichio doesn't cook here himself, but I figured the man I have a crush on from Top Chef should deliver, if not only to keep my infatuation alive. How is a bald man so sexy???
I'll admit, the salad was delicious, but it's a goat cheese and beat salad, it's not that complex. I've had a lot of delicious goat cheese and beat salads. They add a little candied kumquat in there to make it interesting, but it just blends in with the beat flavor so you don't really get a sense of uniqueness to the dish as I'm sure they intended. The cavetelli bolognese I've had better at Sette, that run of the mill Italian cafe on Connecticut back in DC. The cavetelli seemed homemade, a little flavorless unfortunately. However, the lamb bolognese was quite delicious itself - you could tell they crafted it carefully to have just the right combination of flavor and texture. I could eat a bowl of the bolognese, you can keep your cavetelli. The most enticing thing about the place is the bar, I'd love to sit at that bar for a couple of hours just to soak in my environment.
Lupa has yet to be topped. I'm still on the hunt.