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Craftsteak lies unassuming somewhere along Elgin St. in SoHo. No, this isn’t American celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s establishment rather it’s part of the venerable Dining Concepts group. You’d mistake it for just like any other restaurant in SoHo with a plain frontage, big window panes that lets you peek inside and sign that proudly proclaims “open fire cooking”.
But when you step inside, the setting reveals a proper and rustic steak house – dim lights, wood panel floors, leather chairs and wood grain tables. It seems that the designer wanted to evoke a barn setting without losing the intimacy or introducing bales of hay. It works though. As soon as you step in, all you could think off is “steak”.
Of course, the presence of the open kitchen and the chef slicing meat in plain view, helps out a lot. The place is laid out nicely – spacing is quite generous for a SoHo establishment, while the tables are substantial to hold the cast iron plates where your orders are served. The open kitchen is tucked nicely at the end, confident enough that it doesn’t need to be the centre of attention, but remaining the integral part of the whole operation.
Somewhere along Elgin St. in SoHo lies the unassuming Craftsteak
The menu is uncomplicated. One on side was the different meats on offer, ranging from rib-eyes, striploins to lamb chops and poultry. The other side had greens, some mains and a selection of cured sausages and bacons (still meat). There is no way for you to come into Craftsteak and not order at least a steak dish – that would simply unacceptable. We made the correct decision of not ordering starters because the meat, coupled with the generous side dishes, were more than enough to fill us up. Bread and pate was served in a cast iron plate, to keep up with theme.
We ordered the 14-oz ribeye, medium well and was seared to perfection. It remained tender and juicy inside while retaining its smoky burnt flavour. The truffle béarnaise sauce was ideal to accompany it. But even without the sauce, it would have been perfect as it is.
We also ordered some lamb chops, medium rare and was served three good size pieces – full of meat but with just enough fat to make things interesting. Again testament to the chef’s skill, it looked more like well-don outside but once you slice through it, the pinkish meat is revealed with all the juices intact. It was on the salty side though and needs the mint jelly to balance it out.
Both orders came with side dishes – we opted for the side salad and crumbled mushroom. As previously, mentioned we made a wise decision to skip the starters because what we got was a generous serving. The side dishes were almost a meal on their own. Do order the crumbled mushroom – the buttery taste also helps tone down the saltiness of meat.
We capped the meal off with dessert. We chose banoffee mess, fully-expecting a plate with a pie and a side of vanilla ice cream. What we got instead looked like a milk shake topped off with a meringue. Interesting presentation but not too write home about.
I wouldn’t characterise the wine list of Crafsteak as extensive. But what they have on offer is more than adequate with selections from France, New Zealand and Australia. They even have one from Germany available. Don’t be shy to ask for recommendations from your server, he will be more than willing to assist you. If you’re looking for something else, then they also have cocktails and apertifs available.
The staff was attentive and very earnest to satisfy your every request. We were immediately seated when we came in for early an early dinner. But the service level did not dip even when the place started to fill up. They were also very knowledgeable and recommended which sauce, side dish and wine would suitably complement our meat orders.
Our total bill came to about HK$1,100, which is what you’d pay on average for two meat dishes, side dishes, glasses of wine, dessert and coffee. It might not offer you a commanding view of the Hong Kong skyline (it is after all tucked in SoHo) but it most certainly will immediately satisfy your craving for steak.