Jules eats world.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Fresh...Except for the 10th Avenue Exhaust

You may be wondering what's become of me lately. Jules, you may ask me in your head, where have you been? Can you even still call this a blog if you only post every 6 months? I am going to go ahead and say yes, because happily there seem to be no rules in the blogosphere. If people can post videos of their cats every day and call it a blog (and I have no evidence this exists, just a hunch), then why not these infrequent ramblings?

With no further ado, I'd like to tell you about a lovely restaurant called Cookshop. The fashion among restaurants for some time has been to cook what's "seasonal," what's "at the greenmarket today," what "the chef found when he went shopping." This philosophy is rarely executed as well as it is at Cookshop. Mr. H and I ate there on a recently Friday evening, unfortunately opting for the seating outside. While the seating area itself is pleasant, the traffic rumbling by and the frequent exhaust belchings by delivery/FreshDirect trucks is not. The restaurant is more comfortable inside, with a healthy-sized bar area, and the main dining room done in light wood and cream. I believe the chairs are bamboo, and I always welcome a little sustainability.

The dishes at Cookshop change daily, so I'll try to conjure up our meal without my typical crutch of the online menu. I started with an eggplant puree with green olives and parsley, listed as a side on the menu. The eggplant itself was slightly bland, could have used perhaps some garlic. But the olives -- I usually don't like the green -- were large and flavorful, and the parsley (some special "greenmarket" variety?) was particularly sharp. Mr. H had a purslane salad with hazelnuts and a delicious honey-pepper vinaigrette. This was my first introduction to the crunchy, stemmy purslane, which I've read was considered a weed in North America until some enterprising chef realized her Asian neighbors were eating it.

My main course was cumin-crusted wahoo, a toothsome white fish, with a garlic-yogurt sauce. Yogurt doesn't spring to mind with fish, but here it worked to great effect. But my blogger spidey-sense fails me: I forget what my vegetable accompaniment was. Mr. H had a steak with chimichurri, which he enjoyed. Each of the ingredients tasted freshly prepared and were thrown together in sometimes unexpected ways.

The drinks at Cookshop are also worth mentioning, especially the quartino of a 2005 cabernet sauvignon from Panacea Wine Co. And the service stood out as well: our waiter was pleasant and chatty (appropriately so), and helpful with some special menu requests.

I'd been to Cookshop once before, and I'll be back again. Like its neighbor Red Cat up the street, it provides a homey experience that at the same time elevates the food above the mundane.

156 10th Ave.
At 20th St.