Our Dear Tom,
We do applaud you as a food-thinker, a celebrity, and a bona fide intelligent and well-informed foodie. Also a bald guy from New Jersey who has the balls to stand next to Padma every week, she being tall enough to powder her nose in the top of your head, and still glare at the world as if its glace de viand will never be roundly-flavored enough for you. Avaunt!
Notice we did not say we applaud you as a chef. We can't. Having only eaten at Craftsteak three times in our life, we were served so little that we scarcely know what your food tastes like.
Yes, Tom Boy, this is the problem. See that photo above? It is a photo of "Capon Pot-au-Feu", one of the most important menu items at your new resto, Collichio and Sons, which opened last night in the space that used to hold Craftsteak.
Maybe the kitchen is incredibly small, and you have to employ very tiny cooks working on one-quarter size ranges with dollhouse pots and pans. Maybe it is all part of your scheme to create a “more creative, composed-plate style of cooking”.
Thomas, that there composed plate costs $34 pre-tax and tip, a fact which leaves us not at all composed.
We don't care if you caponized that poor rooster yourself, staring it down as if it was the owner of a small California-style catering company who had just set a plate of watery gnocchi in front of you. Neither do we care if the quarter-rib of cabbage was so Heirloom as to practically be raised by the Tiffany Company, or Dan Barber.
We don't even care if the parsley sprig was plucked from the wreath of aromatics with which the city fathers bedeck Michael Ruhlman's shiny hair whenever he comes back to Cleveland! We don't care, we tell you!
Because the fact that that little sprig of parsley (we raise parsley ourself and we know it couldn't cost most than .000023 cents, no matter what) takes the place of a quarter-head of cabbage in an average serving of pot-au-feu tells us that a) this thing is impossibly overpriced and b) since you're probably not paying your staff that much, it's not fair.
Or c) you're being raked by your sources. And that just doesn't seem right, Tommy. Not for a smart character from Jersey. Do you need Tony Bourdain to go over there and get rough with the boys? Because we think he lives for that kind of thing.
The fact is, as much fun as it is to deconstruct a classic menu items, Pot au Feu is usually a big ol' chicken stew for a family of 12 or more. The dish up there looks like--well, it looks like a serving of chicken soup that Grandma used to give us when she wasn't really fond of us. We're sure it tastes much better, but why not call it "Pot-au-feu for Un" or "Le Potage de la Grandmere Berul"? Just so people don't think that, for $34 smacks, they're getting something they can take for lunch for the next four days.
(PS Just noticed you had a cheese menu. Oh, God, a cheese menu. We ADORE cheese menus. Forget we said anything.