Is this my new favorite restaurant?
Weekends afford us time to find some interesting food around the NYC area. Unfortunately, on weekend afternoons, the vast majority of restaurants seems to abandon what they do well, what they've worked hard to develop, the food that gives them an identity and sets them apart from the competition, and shift to a menu fitting of a Holiday Inn buffet for weary travelers. This is know as "brunch," and "brunch" is strictly for amateurs.
But not The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry. Their brunch menu is no fucking brunch menu like I've ever seen, of this you are assured.
Lots of pig, pasta, eggs (a brunchy item and normally handled in unexceptional ways, but not here...purgatory, coddled etc.), fish, meatballs, all over the brunch menu. In fact it looks a lot like their dinner menu. This reason alone is enough for it to be my new favorite restaurant.
A t:e reader turned me on to this place, and after reviewing the menu online, it wasn't long before we took the quick drive from Bergen County to see what was doin.
The soup du jour was something they call "pig brodo." There are lots of playful "pig" references here. The chef is obviously into pork in a big way (and for this, you should be thankful). Heck, they'll even do a whole hog dinner for parties of 6 or more (so get 4 friends and invite your favorite blogger to tag along. If she can't make it, call me). The large bowl of pig brodo was full of flavor, with a bit of chopped vegetables and quinoa. While I don't normally order soups, this one changed my mind. I'll order it again.
Marinated cabbage salad with goat cheese up next. The cabbage was broken down a bit by the marinating process, so it had crunch, without the raw cabbage flavor. Exactly what they are going for I suspect. The aged goat cheese was grated into a fluffy cloud. An interesting way to handle this cheese. This generous portion could have been an entree.
When I see "Crisp Heritage Pork Confit" on a menu, well you just know it's going to be ordered. It was. The picture was blurry, the pork was excellent. Lots of pork flavor, over creamy polenta. Order this.
My app was taking longer than expected, so they graciously brought out some of their housemade mozzarella and grilled bread. First of all, that's the way to handle the situation (although, personally, I didn't care if my app was taking long). Second of all, that's some good cheese.
My housemade Italian sausage with lentils hit the table just moments later. I honestly couldn't figure out the flavors in this thing, and I was enjoying it so much that I didn't care to over-analyze it. Sausage and lentil and mustard oh my. Actually, the mustard wasn't even necessary. Sausage and lentil oh my. This was a juicy, delicious, sausage.
Sea bass topped with pickled celery and olive gremolata, over lentils, was "cooked to perfection," as they say on the internet. This was a great dish. You'll notice that vegetables and legumes play an integral role in these dishes. That's refreshing, as they are all too often an after-thought, and completely unintegrated.
And then that lamb bolognese I was eying since the first visit. Al dente (housemade?) pasta, and a deep, rich, bolognese, and a touch of mint. Almost as good as mine. Again, this was a large portion (they have really big bowls at The Cookery). I ate half and had the rest for lunch the next day, although I could have eaten it all right there at the restaurant. Sense, somehow, took hold, that afternoon.
The Cookery is exceptional in many ways. The service. The thought that goes into the dishes. The execution. The ingredients. All of it. It's all good.
Go to the Cookery. It is, factually speaking, my new favorite restaurant.