December 17, 2007 | Insatiable Critic

In The Dark at Crave on 42nd

Warming up near the Hudson River with Crave's pizza. Photo: Steven Richter
Warming up near the Hudson River with Crave's pizza. Photo: Steven Richter

        Coming after “Don’t call me a bitch, bitch” fame at "Top Chef" on Bravo, Chef-consultant Dave Martin’s “Think Bistro, Eat Casual” lacks some heft way the hell out west at Crave on 42nd.  But not his fabulous black truffle brandy-touched mac’n’cheese blistering hot from the microwave.

        The sprawling storefront has a shoestring budget feel with painted squares as art but did they have to pinch pennies on the light? It’s annoying to eat in the dark. I’m not sure sea scallops with vanilla bean cream or a hanging tenderloin “martini” drizzled with Asian ginger pan sauce will fly this close to New Jersey. Or even with me.

        But tonight we crave comfort and we’re soothed with a decent anchovied Caesar, a good enough burger for just $9 and delicious thin crust “fiery meathouse” pizza with its peppery after kick. Lamb shank touted as the night’s special on the blackboard is sold out. So we struggle to find entrées that don’t threaten to be sweet. "Sassy" sea bass with honey adobe butter and ginger pan glazed rib eye don’t cry out “eat me.” 

Penne with vegetables and pine nuts.
Photo: Steven Richter

        But penne with artichoke and pine nuts in a pleasant tomato sauce and the $20 hanger steak in two meaty chunks with fries and  sauce on the side fill the bill and bounces off the budget nicely.  

        Some restaurants are good for the neighborhood.  Let’s just say Crave is good for the building – River Place - which looms overhead at a far remove from 42nd Street hustle. But it’s fast-rising sibling tower on 11th Avenue will fill those seats for sure.  And theater row on 9th Avenue is close enough, I might want to revisit that macaroni.

650 W. 42nd nr 12th Av 212 564 9588


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