Fairway Market Cafe and Steakhouse

I heard about the Fairway Market Cafe and Steakhouse from a Food Network show, that recommended it as a place for a great steak at a very reasonable price. The restaurant is actually secondary to to a much larger grocery store. I suppose that because the food for the restaurant come straight from the store below, the prices can remain low.

V and I went for dinner and ordered from the $29 prix fixe menu, which offers most everything on the main menu in a three course meal. A good $15 bottle of wine rounded out the meal.

For an appetizer I ordered the white bean soup, which I expected to be kind of thick or creamy, but was actually a broth based soup. It wasn't as hearty as I expected, but it was pretty good. V had roasted clams, which were in a nice butter sauce and were a good start to her meal.

We both ordered steaks, V the Prime Dry Aged N.Y. Strip Steak, and I the Marinated Skirt Steak. Both were good, V's more tender and mine with a bit more flavor. I had mashed potatoes on the side that were over mashed, but the fries with V's steak were well seasoned and crispy.

For dessert V had apple pie which was good, but I wished it was warm. I had a slice of carrot cake which was pretty moist and had a coconut frosting. I've had better, but it was a nice end to the meal.

The restaurant is pretty simple, upstairs from the grocery store, filled with wooden tables, light metal chairs and some large pictures and banners on the wall showing fruits and vegetables. We arrived early for a Friday dinner to a relatively empty dining room, but by the end of the meal the place was close to packed. The service was good, and our waitress was vary friendly.

Overall the meal was good, but not great. I suppose for the price it was what you would expect. I don't know if I'll go back, but if I lived on the Upper West Side, I'd definitely be a regular, for a satisfying, cheap, dinner.


Craftbar is Craft's informal sister-restaurant, where Chef Tom Colicchio applies the same philosophy of simple food derived from the finest ingredients, to casual dining.

I've seen Tom Colicchio as head judge of the reality cooking show, Top Chef. I didn't know much about his cooking style but I guess the show worked for him because I looked up his restaurants in New York and made a point of going - to one of the cheaper ones at least.

Craft Bar has an odd atmosphere, it seemed kind of unfinished to me. High ceilings, white walls, a cement floor...the one unique thing was a catwalk crossing the space, though it didn't seem to have any purpose other than for storage. I suppose the atmosphere was good for the young, casual crowd. The servers were dressed casually, with black t-shirts and pants.

As a starter our server brought little crispy bread sticks that had a nice saltiness that I couldn't resist. We each ordered appetizers. I had the pecorino fondue which had a little sweetness to it, with a few hazelnuts on top. I didn't think of it as fondue, more just a broiled cheese with some chips. But regardless, it was cheese and it was good combination of sweet and salty. V had a squash and gruyere soup that was not too sweet and a great dish for fall. Another appetizer was the chickpea fries, which were rather interesting. They were very thick, probably half-inch square and a few inches long, they were 'supple' but not very crispy. The olive aoli dip that came with them was very good.

For entrees we each tried something different. V and her friend, Lonestar, each had the chantorelle risotto that I found to be really, really good - it was very smooth, almost cheesy. The braised short ribs, in a mild consommé were delicious and very tender. The hangar steak, which I ordered, was fairly peppery, but quite tender, which is a feat with this cut. The onions and potatoes on the side were also very good.

Overall I found the menu at Craftbar to be well...crafted. The dishes were unique, and along with that, the service was very good. It ended up being an expensive meal, but we went all out, with two courses each and plenty of drinks. I was definitely satisfied with the meal and the restaurant as a whole. I'll have to try the other Craft restaurants now!