Is there anything better than brunch, really? Even on a gray, rainy, pea soup–like New York day in mid-August, nothing beats a good brunch. This Sunday, Jeanne and I hit up Cookshop in Chelsea.
Despite arriving only about 5 minutes after they opened, there was a wait for a table, so we parked it at the bar. I can only imagine that on a nice day, which wasn’t alternating between soggy and thick, the place would have been impossibly busy.
There are a few basic requirements for a good New York brunch:
1) A good cocktail
2) Rib-stickin’ food
3) A fun atmosphere
Cookshop had all three (Did you like the order of those? Food comes second to cocktails when brunch is in order). Unfortunately, the cocktails weren’t included in the brunch and were instead a la carte-bummer. Fortunately, they were also delicious and well-poured (chintzy on the booze, these drinks were not). My Sweet Salty Dog (vodka and grapefruit with a salt and sugar rim) was a perfect start to the day; next time, I’m going for one of those awesome looking Bloody Marys.
The food was exactly what brunch food should be…warm, comforting, and not overly-complicated. The ricotta beignets with blueberry sauce were moist and crispy; they weren’t as light as a classic beignet, but I still wouldn’t kick ’em out of bed for eating crackers. My meal, the Cookshop scramble, consisted of scrambled eggs with caramelized onions and smoked salmon over a house-made biscuit. I’m a sucker for the salty-sweet juxtaposition and consequently, loved every bite of it. Jeanne’s meal, the house-made pork sausage with poached eggs and cheese grits was even better. The more I think about it, the better the memory of that sausage becomes; tender and herby and intensely porky. The eggs were perfectly poached and the cheese grits perfectly creamy. To top it off there was a jus of some description (pork and red wine?) that totally sealed the deal. Their menu changes seasonally, which just means I guess I’ll have to return in the fall…or perhaps earlier to try dinner. Shucks.
As far at the atmosphere goes, it was light and airy, with lots of windows and potential outdoor seating. Of course, the view on 10th Ave. leaves a bit to be desired, but that’s neither here nor there; in NYC, you take al fresco wherever you can get it. It was welcoming, but casual-the kind of atmosphere I love. All of this you’ll just have to take my word for since I neglected to take any decent pictures of the restaurant. Next time. I swear.
156 10th Ave. (@20th st.)