When Tom Colicchio opened Craft in 2001, he moved one block south from Gramercy Tavern, the quintessential NYC dining room and barroom he’d created with Danny Meyer. Craft was his personal launching pad as a star chef and its concept and design made a splash in pre–9/11 New York, as much for the stark presentations of perfectly braised short ribs and pint-sized copper roasting pans filled with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, as for the wine list, which Matthew MacCartney, a fellow Gramercy Tavern alum, built into an eclectic powerhouse. Today, the room feels comfortably dated, somewhere between modernist simplicity and post-modern tech-boom glitz. The tables are vast squares of NYC real estate, the low murmur in the room allowing for conversation with your friend across the expanse of wood. The quality, range and simplicity of the food translate the avid carnivore’s experience in her favorite steakhouse to the language of the omnivore, or pescatarian, or vegetarian (you could happily dine here on vegetables alone). Patrick Bennett’s wine list is equally catholic and deeply satisfying, especially in Champagne and Burgundy, where you can find extraordinary wines (with a number at remarkable prices). Where else can you start with a pinot noir from Champagne, the Bouzy Rouge from Benoît Lahaye, before choosing from a range of Vosne-Romanée lieu-dits from Louis Michel Liger-Belair? And then itch to go back for the other hidden gems from Austria, Germany, Canada, Jura, Portugal, side pockets of Bordeaux satellites, outskirts in the Rhône and untrammeled California amidst their well-branded cousins. There’s plenty here for the super-rich of the contemporary tech boom, and somehow as many choices for those of us who continue to struggle with the complexities of the real world. We can all use a drink about now. This just happens to be a great place to find it.
Update 2020: Brooks Fraser is now the wine director at Craft.
43 E. 19th St., New York, NY
This story appears in the print issue of April 2017.
Like what you read? Subscribe today.