by Taylor Levy
Fresh Food, Friendly Service
Cookshop offers refined farm to table cuisine in a lofty, hip setting filled with loud noise and busboys hustling in unison. Despite being exceptionally busy, the friendly servers are poised, graciously explain menu items, and check up on their diners’ satisfaction. Our party of five shared the same verdict: Fresh, well cooked, and flavorful food with some minor glitches involving excess salt and scattered acquired tastes.
While waiting, I watched a chef shuffle pita bread as it expanded in the glass oven. Soon enough, homemade focaccia warmed our table. The fresh butter spread easily as it melted over the rustic bread, setting high expectations for our meal.
I ordered the swordfish ceviche, cauliflower soup, and the roasted brussels pizza, but of course, sampled everyone else’s food. Let’s start with the swordfish. These little, refreshing bites were smothered in a green chermoula sauce, a Middle Eastern marinade made from lemon juice, garlic, cumin and other hot spices.
Thin slices of pear topped it off, but instead of offering the sweet, crisp element needed to offset the pungent citrus and cumin duo, its overly ripe feel and muted flavor offered zilch. My cauliflower soup, however, was flawless. From the silky, smooth texture, to the rich creamy flavor it possessed without containing a drop of cream or butter, it would make any soup jealous.
As for the salt issue I mentioned, the brussels sprouts pizza was the main culprit. But beneath the layers of salt lay a beautiful thick crust finished with still crunchy, shaved sprouts, mozzarella cheese, and tangy walnut agresto. Subtract that excess sodium and you won’t find a better pizza!
I tried my brother’s mezza plate. While the eggplant puree and tomato salad paired deliciously with the pita, the hard grain salad and spiced yogurt tasted like perfume gone wrong. As for the chicken, it was huge in size and flavor. With the meat so tender, skin so crisp, and delicious, sweet eggplant stew, we named this the dinner winner.
Dessert was most impressive. A chocolate tart filled with a rich, molten chocolate center, my mouth watered as I watched this liquid decadence ooze onto my spoon. But, for the buzzkill I can’t ignore, the spiced grape sorbet was just plain bizarre.
While the tart lasted 10 seconds, the sorbet melted with no attention. We also shared the cinnamon donuts—three fried fluffs of complete paradise heightened to an even more heavenly dimension after bathing in the melting vanilla ice cream and tart jelly sauce — Definitely a strong finish to an overall solid meal!