Tom Colicchio and David Ramey Pack the Crack House, Craft Dallas.

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Whatever… so Craft is in Victory Park, so Colicchio has ventures from coast-to-coast, so he's the co-host of a (pretty fun) reality show… the place is still quite good. My friends and I refer to it as "Crack," as in "they sprinkle crack on each dish as it is whisked from the kitchen to your table." Colicchio's philosophy of attempting to extract the essence of each ingredient seems to be generally adhered to at Craft Dallas. A favorite dish of mine is actually served at brunch on occasion: Hash of Shishito Peppers and Duck Confit – crack.

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As it was my friend Michelle's birthday, her husband Jeff got a group of us together for a recent wine dinner featuring Colicchio and winemaker David Ramey in attendance. Tom joked to the packed house that it was great to actually see the restaurant full. I have to agree, it's a truly handsome room – one of my favorites in town – but it's usually a tad less booked than on this particular evening. We enjoyed the energy of the full room.

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^ Canapés w/ 2006 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay.

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^ Tai Snapper, Shellfish Ragout & Black Garlic w/ 2005 Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay, Carneros.

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^ Pancetta-Wrapped Monkfish, Porcini & Spring Onions w/ 2005 Claret; Roasted & Braised Guinea Hen, Fava Bean Raviolini w/ 2005 Larkmead Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

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^ Elysian Fields Lamb, Crispy Belly & Morels w/ 2005 Rodgers Creek Vineyard Syrah; Chocolate-Hazelnut Turnover, Brandied Cherries & Vanilla-Mint Ice Cream… and we drank ALLOT more wine.

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^ Crack Packs.

I have eaten here a number of times and Jeff & Michelle are actually regulars. We are accustomed to excellent service and delicious food – during this event we got that, with a few caveats. There were some issues getting the food out in a timely fashion, and in general the dishes later in the meal seemed more on par with previous visits. Our group had a great time, our server knew our party and kept the excellent wine flowing, Michelle got to meet Tom, and Jeff and I enjoyed chatting with the very personable David Ramey (who does a rather nice job making wine).

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^ There's Tom after service (far right).

Colicchio says he plans to do more of these dinners, and why not? He's a restaurateur who's presence can pack the house. I think they learned a few things this time around. Based on the winemaker's they pair with in future, I'll likely attend again. Meanwhile, I encourage jaded food lovers to dine here once in a while, and look for that Crack Hash at brunch. I certainly have no problem with celebrity chefs when their restaurants serve quality food. Now I'll pack this post, and go.

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