Dining Out: Cooks & Soldiers
I am a big fan of the Castellucci family of restaurants. We all know they do solid work. I love, love, LOVE Double Zero. I am a fan of Iberian Pig in Decatur. For months I've been seeing the construction happening at Cooks & Soldiers directly across the street from the White Provision Building in Midtown. Well, the waiting is over and friends and restaurant critics alike are slowly posting their reviews. The good news is the reviews are glowing.
To start, the space is definitely a step above any other space from this restaurant group. The room is crowded without being too noisy. It's hip without being cool. The wait staff and servers are ninja-like in their efficiency. In short, it's a very nice launch to an already bustling west side.
We barely touched the expansive Basque-themed menu, but everything we had was delicious.
We started with a couple of tapas plates. The first was a Bruleed Fig. This is one of several options of toasts with yummy goodness on top. The fig version is a Spanish cheese, with ham, fig, and mint. Then there's a drizzle of sherry reduction. Deeeeelish! Next time I'm going to try the toast with the shallot jam -- I had a tough time deciding!Then we tried the Basque version of pigs in a blanket. Who had the original idea of taking a chorizo sausage and wrapping it in a croissant? I'd like to shake that girl's (or guy's) hand. Of course, this doesn't qualify as adventurous eating, but it was a super cold night and a little comfort food seemed in order.Next we decided to get a little more serious in our ordering and tried the octopus. While this wasn't a life-changing, eye-rolling- to-the-back-of- your head kind of dish (like the one at BoccaLupo), it was still pretty amazing. Those black bits are "charcoal potatoes" and although they look unappealing, they were crispy and delightful.My friends Justin & Angie told us the carrots were amazing, and we couldn't agree more! This is the kind of roasted vegetable I aspire to make at home. We are suckers for mushrooms. There's almost always room for a few, and these woodsy-tasting morsels and the wild mushrooms with pork demi-glaze were absolutely divine! After all of this food, we split an entree and went for the classic hot pot. This dish is a ham broth soup with vegetables and assorted toppings. The toppings were served on the side and you topped your bowl with whatever you liked. My favorite was the grilled tuna, but the chorizo peppers and garlic-parsley mix made every bite a little party in the mouth!After all of that, how could we possibly eat dessert? How could we not? We started with chocolate tarte and corn gelato. It was beyond rich. I'm not a huge chocolate fan, so it was a little too intense for my tastes. However, if you adore rich chocolate, you'll love it.I was happier with the Basque Cake with house-made cherry preserves, marcona almonds, ‘sparkling’ cider. Still, I think next time I'll plan to skip dessert and have some more toasts!Can't wait to go back often in 2015!!