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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Liquid Diet: Craftbar

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CASUAL CHARACTER: Craftbar — the more casual little brother of Tom Colicchio's Craft located on the building's first floor — is a nice alternative for something low-key and less expensive. The restaurant's decor has an organic yet refined feel: Wood walls meet industrial accents such as dangling lightbulb clusters and dark metal. The open kitchen placed near the entrance of the restaurant makes for an entrancing dinner show.

CRAFTY COCKTAILS: A drink binder houses a wide selection of wines from around the world, an impressive list of spirits such as grappa, eau-de-vie, scotch, rum, tequila, and a handful of original cocktails. Favorite drinks included the Sunshine Squeeze #1 — fresh ginger, Ketel One vodka, Depaz cane syrup and lemon and lime juice — and the herbaceous and playfully named Tom’s Collins made with Hendrick's gin, Fever Tree Bitter Lemon and a fresh slice of cucumber.

COMFORT CUISINE: A tiny cast-iron pot filled with perfectly diced steak tartare crowned with a raw egg comes with golden brown gaufrette potato chips. Large ricotta meatballs are packed into a cozy bowl alongside wide ribbons of fresh pappardelle enrobed in a deep red tomato sauce and topped with snowflakes of Parmesan cheese. S’mores made with homemade salted graham crackers, marshmallows and dark chocolate are almost too pretty to eat.

Craftbar, the Mansion on Peachtree, 3376 Peachtree Road. 404-995-7580. Sun.-Thurs., 5:30-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 5:30-11 p.m.

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