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New York City: Damon: Frugal Fridays

Superstar Tom Colicchio’s restaurant Craft is so luxe it has a wall made of leather. So it’s kind of hilarious when you walk over to its annex to find the sign for Damon: Frugal Fridays written in magic marker and stuck to the door with blue masking tape. Inside, servers are wearing T-shirts with iron-ons that say, “It’s the economy, stupid.” The Stones are on the stereo, louder than a freshman dorm room. It feels like someone’s kids are playing restaurant. Except the kid in the kitchen is Damon Wise, the actual, day-to-day executive chef of Craft, and the cooking is no joke. The garlic sausage and turnip sauerkraut have flavor that doesn’t bottom out for days. The chicken liver pâté is smoother than Barack Obama. And a bite of the cod fritters almost made me weep: After years of searching, I have finally found the platonic ideal of the fish stick. The frugality of the evening, however, is entirely up to you. The menu spans more than 30 dishes, with everything under $10 and lots at $7 and even $5, so you can have a meal of great quality for $25 or $30. But you’ll kind of want to order everything. Go ahead. Don't think of it as gluttony. Think of it as supporting the economy.

Damon: Frugal Fridays Craft, 47 E. 19th St., New York City (212-780-0880; Fridays only, 5:30 p.m.–midnight; no reservations)



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