Getting sent to the basement to eat sounds like some sort of punishment, but at the Craftbar brunch to help celebrate my stepmother’s 50th birthday, it turned out to be a reward. For once, food wasn’t the focus, but it was impossible to ignore some of the dishes on our set menu at the casual offshoot of Tom Colicchio’s Craft.
The pastry sampler featured moist carrot cake muffins, chocolate chip scones, gooey pull-apart cinnamon rolls and dense but satisfying glazed cake donuts (with donut holes). The only disappointment was the mini biscuits.
Brioche Pain Perdu was especially outstanding, so moist that the slabs were almost custard-like. The upscale French toast didn’t need any help, but it still came with Vermont maple syrup and apple butter.
My Frittata was the meal’s only true letdown, overcooked to the point that I had to scrape the plaster-like egg from the skillet. Even if the egg had been cooked correctly, the frittata still would have been unbalanced thanks to an overabundance of bitter greens, broccoli rabe and green olive slivers.
Colicchio now owns a Craftbar in Los Angeles, so there need to return to the Manhattan flagship, but our brunch will spur further exploration on the West Coast.