backstrEATS at a glance:
61 W 62nd St (between Broadway & Columbus Ave)
New York, NY 10023 Tel: (212) 780-0577
Neighborhood: Upper West Side (Various other locations)
Subway Guide: 66th St (1), 59th St-Columbus Circle (1, A, C, B, D)
Hours: Same as the David Rubenstein Atrium: Monday–Friday 8:00 am–10:00 pm Saturday–Sunday 9:00 am–10:00 pm
Atmosphere and Attire: Modern and quiet. Wonderful study area of the Atrium. Casual Attire is welcomed. (It gets quite cold in the summer due to the lovely air conditioning. I’d bring a light sweater.)
Cost: Cost is moderately cheap. They do have a select soup and sandwich combo for $8.95 but generally sandwiches or salads will run you $8-11. Toss in a drink and the average entree cost can be $12-15 dollars.
Coke products: Yes! But there are no refills and coke products are in cans!
Notable things around it: Lincoln Center, Metropolitan Opera House, Julliard School, Time Warner Center, Central Park.
As promised from a previous entry, I would love to introduce to you, ‘witchcraft. Though I am trying my hardest not to write about chains, every now and then I will make an exception and write on one. After all, all chains had to start as a single restaurant before becoming big.
Tom Colicchio, a name that would have eluded us a few years ago except for those who knew his restaurants, founded ‘wichcraft in 2003 with partners, Sisha Ortuzar and Jeffrey Zurofsky. Many of us know Mr. Colicchio from the popular series of Top Chef as one of the show’s head judges. All of the partners have previously worked together in many fine dining restaurants in Manhattan but wanted to open something that was decidedly more casual and that upheld the Craft restaurants’ (the many restaurants owned by Colicchio) ethic of “…great ingredients and careful execution with the ease and accessibilty of a sandwich…” (Craftrestaurants.com).
Location and Ambiance:
There are many locations for ‘wichcraft, including 13 in Manhattan, 1 in San Francisco, and 1 in Las Vegas. The ‘wichcraft I experienced is located in the newly remodeled David Reubenstein Atrium. This atrium is easily accessible from the 1 Subway stop (66th street), which is a stone throw away from the Lincoln Center. For more about the ambiance and location of ‘wichcraft refer to my previous entry here.
They offer a simple yet varied menu. From breakfast sandwiches and sides (served all day) to lunch salads, soups and sandwiches (served starting from 11 a.m.). The menu is very versatile offering food for the meat lover or vegetarian to the picky or more refined palette. They are committed to bringing fresh quality ingredients and list the purveyors of their ingredients on their website (Niman ranch for their ham and Pain D’Avignon and Balthazar Bakery for their bread to name a few).
I really love their chicken breast sandwich. Served on a grilled country bread, the chicken is wonderfully juicy and warm all the way through. (Don’t you just hate “hot” sandwiches that are luke warm?) The grilled mushrooms and onions add a lovely earthy flavor combination as the fontina drapes lovingly over the entire ensemble.
I also enjoyed the grilled gruyere cheese with caramelized onions on rye bread. Having been exposed to only FANTASTIC breads from Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor (another essential entry for another time), I was a bit skeptical about the cheese and bread quality. The rye bread was actually quite nice. Not an overwhelming rye like most places. The gruyere was a bit too subtle than what I am used to but overall the sandwich was good. The taste reminded me very much of french onion soup but in sandwich form.
With the grilled cheese, I decided that a tomato soup was in order. Their soups do change but not every day. They have had the tomato and cucumber soup since I visited the atrium last week. The tomato soup was nothing stellar but it was comforting to have with the sandwiches. At least it was hot! (I really can’t stand luke warm soup. Almost as much as warm diet coke.) It was garnished with a little bit of cheddar cheese and was accompanied by two long stick-like cheese crackers.
They have a wonderful selection of pastries as well that are made “in house” that is shipped over from their main kitchen. Try their oatmeal cremewich. It’s absolutely fabulous! Alongside the Coke products in cans, Boylan’s products, espresso bar drinks, and tea, they also offer wine, beer, and cocktails for those who wish to enjoy a little drink before a performance at Lincoln Center or the Met.
If you’re ordering food, they will give you your canned drinks first and give you a sign to put on your table so they can bring your food and whatever other drink you ordered from the bar. They have always been very patient and super helpful when I have been there. They really do make your food right there so there is a bit of a wait time for it to come out. But I’ve always had a smiley sever bring me my sandwiches so no complaints here. Oh, bussing your own table is very much appreciated.
Overall, a lovely little café that won’t break the bank. The ingredients are fresh and delicious. The atmosphere cool and inviting. ‘wichcraft is a notable chain that I will no doubt frequent more and more on my trips to Manhattan.
Hope you guys enjoyed your Labor Day weekend!
Until next time, Eat On <3Tags: 'wichcraft, Craft Restaurants, David Rubenstein Atrium, food, New York, NYC, restaurants, salads, sandwiches, soups, Tom Colicchio, Upper West Side