The tile floors are intact and the toilettes still say Messieurs and Dames, but gone is the absinthe fountain, the escargots, the Moulin Rouge ads, Paris street signs. And the red letters that once spelled out C-A-S-S-I-S on the marquee (as in Brasserie Cassis), now read C-R-A-F-T, as in Craft American Bar & Bistro. The Plainview eatery, newly repatriated earlier this month, now plays host to several burgers ($15 and up), Southern fried chicken ($20), hanger steak ($28) and salmon poke ($13), as well as a few menu holdovers, such as French onion soup ($10) and duck a l’orange ($33).
Other new items include guacamole and chips ($10), cornbread and biscuits ($8), fish tacos ($12) and chicken schnitzel ($21).
Equally striking is the change in décor. Craft's ceiling and walls are a bold chartreuse, the latter decorated with giant photos of 28 celebrities. The catch? Only their eyes are visible. Figuring out who's who is a favorite game among bar patrons, or at least it was on the night we visited. (“Is that J-Lo or Princess Di?”)
Reststar Hospitality Group, which owns Craft, and also owned Brasserie Cassis from its inception in 2007, announced the change in August on Facebook, promising “new menu selections and old favorites in an updated contemporary setting.” The move was prompted, at least in part, by the group’s desire to offer more competitive pricing in a crowded market. As Eric Machado, the director of operations, put it to Newsday’s Peter Gianotti earlier this month, “people are more price-conscious.”
He added that Reststar’s other French restaurants, Bistro Cassis in Huntington and La P’tite Framboise in Port Washington, would continue as such.
Craft American Bar & Bistro is at 387 S. Oyster Bay Rd., in the Plainview Shopping Centre, 516-653-0090. Note: The restaurant is currently in a soft opening and hours may vary. Regular hours are noon to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.