Entries in Cookshop (2)


Return to Cookshop

There are many restaurants in New York that I want to try, so a restaurant has to be pretty damned good for me to rush back. If it is merely good, I move on to the next destination. After my girlfriend and I had paid a first visit, Cookshop had made it into that rare pantheon of places we felt we had to rush back to.

Alas, early promise wasn’t fulfilled. On our second visit, my friend ordered a “humanely-raised” veal chop. We supposed that meant that the young animal received plenty of coddling in its short life, but in the end they still slaughtered it anyway. All of that made no difference. The chop was inexpertly cooked, lacking any char or texture on its outer surface.

I ordered the suckling pig, another animal that had died young. Its final stop before my plate was a rotisserie, which is perhaps a gimmick to persuade the diner that he is getting something special, but in the end it was just bland. I had a far superior version of the same dish a few days later at the TriBeCa restaurant Dominic.

So our enthusiasm for Cookshop has dimmed somewhat. We’ll probably give it one more try one of these days, but this time we won’t be rushing back.

Cookshop (156 Tenth Avenue at 20th Street, West Chelsea)

Food: *
Service: *
Ambiance: *½
Overall: *



Note: Click here for a more recent visit to Cookshop.

Cookshop has been open for several weeks. There was a good Sunday night crowd in the restaurant last night, but my friend and I were pleased that we could still hear ourselves talk.

The restaurant features a market menu that relies heavily on local produce. The menu is printed on loose paper, and I suspect it is re-done every day. To start, I had the smoked bluefish. My friend had a pizza, which our server warned “is one of our larger appetizers.” Indeed, for many people it would serve as an entrée. We both had the duck main course, an ample portion of juicy medallions with a luscious layer of fat around them.

Main courses are generally between $20 and $30, except for the aged rib-eye ($34); appetizers are generally under $15. The wine list fits on a single page, but is not organized according to any system I could perceive. Nevertheless, I was delighted to find a modestly-priced cabernet that topped off the evening nicely.

I suspect Cookshop will be a hit, and deservedly so.

Cookshop (156 Tenth Avenue at 20th Street, West Chelsea)

Food: **
Service: **
Ambiance: *
Overall: **

Postscript: I wrote the foregoing after our visit to Cookshop on October 24, 2005. My gut told me “two stars” when I visited, and about a month later so said Frank Bruni. We returned to Cookshop in January, and our impression then was far less favorable.