Autumn Tastes Like Rabbit and Apricots.

27 Nov

Written by Adam Wile

Overall Rating: 3 of 4
Average Entree: $25.00 and under
Dishes to Try: Beet and Goat Cheese Ravioli, Hudson Valley Rabbit, Multigrain Risotto, Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Sitting on the corner of 10 Avenue and 20th Street, Cookshop looks like any other eatery in Chelsea. Upon stepping inside, however, one begins to sense the essence of what Cookshop really is. The duo responsible for Five Points and Hundred Acres, chef Marc Meyer and partner Vicki Freeman, have once again brought sustainability to the New York City restaurant scene. The inside of Cookshop is more country farm than trendy neighborhood hot spot, decorated in pumpkins and gourds with maple, amber and mahogany tones illuminated by candles. Upbeat music plays gently in the background and the restaurant has a quiet buzz filling the room. As we sit down our waiter explains the “Cookshop Restaurant Mission.” The menu strictly adheres to seasonality and sustainability. All produce comes from local farmers markets (the majority from close by Union Square), all animals are grown humanely the way nature intended, and wine is chosen from smaller vineyards, including some local Long Island options. The glasses are even made from recycled materials. While the ethics are impressive, the question turns to taste.

Our table began with a nicely al dente homemade beet and goat cheese ravioli with butter poppy seed sauce. One bite was all it took for the table to begin rallying behind Meyer’s mantra that seasonal food tastes better. We also shared a playful and well-seasoned Merguez sausage & peppers roll and an order of deviled eggs that were everything you wish they could be at home, but somehow never are.

The meal proceeded on with more hints towards Meyer’s commitment to local ingredients. The marinated Hudson Valley Rabbit was tender and juicy with grapes and apricots that added a nice sweetness to counter the acidity of the accompanying red wine gastrique. Though we did not indulge, our rabbit’s kidneys and liver ended up on the menu as well in two separate dishes. The true highlight of dinner was the multigrain risotto, wonderfully creamy and chewy, with squash and rosemary. Not all of dinner was as successful however, the white pizza with green olives was thought to be “briny,” “oily,” and “overpowering,” by the members of my table.

Dessert brought back another high point for Cookshop. All creamy ice cream and smooth sorbet is made in house. This warranted us trying half of the dozen flavors including coffee, chocolate, gingersnap, apple, banana, root beer, and a slightly over salty yet addictive salted caramel. These were found among our Root Beer Sundae and, the most seasonal dessert imaginable, pumpkin bread pudding with gingersnap ice cream.

Cookshop, similar to its parent restaurant Five Points is the type of place you want to come back to. It is larger than both Five Points and Hundred Acres, but still manages to be just as cozy. Of course when talking about sustainable restaurants, it is hard not to compare them to Dan Barber’s Blue Hill. While less elegant than Blue Hill, Cookshop is more accessible. While Blue Hill may be a special occasion type dinner, Cookshop is the kind of restaurant you could go to any day of the week. Not only is it easy on the environment and conscience, it’s also easier on your wallet.

 

 

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