The plastic curtain has been lifted, and the long wait is finally over. Craftsman has launched its newest venture in Hangzhou. Let's pause a bit to examine just what they've done here in recent years. Two and a half years ago they opened the Craftsman Kitchen on Moganshan road. It was a nice elegant take on Cantonese cuisine. Good food and overly good service (which by the way is also the case at Loft). Then, they opened another branch on Qingchun road a little over a year ago. And, when we were checking out Yue Zhe Hui a couple of months back, come to find out that, yes, it's owned by Craftsman as well. What does this all add up to? We've got a slew of restaurants with great food, great service, great decor and great management. With that bit of history behind us, we can talk about the newest addition to the Craftsman family. Now, the problem with reviewing a place when it's newly opened is they never really have the glitches worked out. We were absolutely blinded by the lights. What was the deal with the lights? The only reprieve you get from them is in the back where you choose your seafood from blue-lit aquariums (oh, so much better). The selection is wide, and at times a bit disturbing with the sea cucumbers and the dick-shaped snail (there were a lot of those babies left over at closing time). The tables here are large, a bit too large if there are only a couple of you, but we gather that's just to encourage overindulgence easy to do with such a huge menu (sorry, no English, but the specialties have pics). We ordered the Crystal Prawn and some Rice Porridge. Would you call us weird if we said we like this the most? We don't mean the other food was bad; the porridge was just that good. The Crab Steamed in Yellow Wine was succulent, but the sauce was a little bland. When we mentioned this to our waiter, he was quick to point out that this was a Cantonese dish. If you do get the crab, save room at the end because they cook the leftover sauce with some noodles, and it's just the right way to finish the meal. These are Craftsman prices on seafood, so you're gonna spend well over a hundred a head. You can order: Orange Skin and Old Duck Stew 陈皮炖老鸭 chen pi dun lao ya 38RMB/person; Crystal Prawn 水晶虾仁 shui jing xia ren 39RMB; Mushroom Chicken Stew 四宝菌炖竹丝鸡 si bao jun dun zhu si ji 22RMB/person; Worms, Grass and Flowers Cooked with Mashed Meat 虫草花炖肉泥 chong cao hua dun rou ni 18RMB/person; Preserved Vegetables and Shrimps Soup 干菜河虾汤 gan cai he xia tang 32RMB; Crabs Steamed in Yellow Wine 花雕酒蒸花蟹 hua diao jiu zheng hua xie; Fish Balls and West Lake Weed Soup 鱼圆莼菜汤 yu yuan chun cai tang 28RMB/person.
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