Cookshop - you've been warned.
Four us went for dinner and were immediated seated. Everything was downhill from there. As a group, we agreed food was solid. Decent porkchops, suckling pig, whole fish. The wait service was bordering on pathetic. After sitting down, we didn't get menus or water for 15 minutes. The first waiter dropped my friend's wine on her after mistakenly picking up her half-full glass to clear away (and turning it upside down!). He did not mop up the puddle of wine left on the floor and did not comp her drink. I'm not even sure he apologized. At the time serving the starters, the sommelier and the waiter knocked over a tall glass of ice water on the same friend, this time drenching her pants. "We'll pay for your drycleaning" was the response. Well, my friend didn't want drycleaning. She wanted to be dry and certainly comped for something. No offer to comp anything, and no manager appeared to apologize or try to rectify the situation. I had to take it upon myself to speak to the manager and tell him the situation - nothing done in response except some sympathetic head-shaking. This restaurant is pathetic. It's pretty, but the service is pathetic and abysmal and we won't be back. My friend is a former chef/owner of an East Village restaurant and she has never witnessed this kind of incompetency.
I have to disagree with the "thumbs down" review. I was there last night with a friend. We both really like Five Points so we wanted to try this. To get the service out of the way, I would say it is actually not bad based on my experience (but this can obviously vary depending on your server.) We had a reservation for seven and upon arrival a few minutes after seven we were told by our hostess that the table was just being readied as the party before us was paying. They suggested we wait at the bar, which was right there at the entrance. This would have been more appealing if the space was bigger, but it is a smallish bar that seats perhaps 12 and there was no available seating. Those who can't sit at the bar must stand behind the people seated, which has you at the door. No big deal, but it's not a relaxing place to wait when they are busy and the crowds are coming in. As I waited I noticed the main dining room was not at all full and wondered why we were made to wait. Probably coincidence, but as soon as I ordered a round (1 wine, 1 vodka tonic, $22 with tip), our table was ready! Our waitress was attentive, but I will say she was a little on the abrupt side. She came immediately to tell us about the specials and pretty openly stopped our conversation to do so. From there the service was the same; she would appear, do what was necessary and then go. This was a little curt (or so I thought when an appetizer, almost finished, was removed prior to being asked), but really, the reality is that I just like a little more friendliness. But I'll take efficient any day, and the point is really that aside from the atmosphere which is contemporary and lovely (check out the rotisserie through the glass window to the kitchen in the back), the food stands out! I had some excellent, super fresh West Coast oysters which came on ice with a wedge of lemon and Ponzu sauce (what more do you need? - excellent!), and then Pheasant with Concord Grapes over Polenta. This was particularly amazing. First, talk about an ode to early Fall! Seasonal fruit, a roast which speaks to cooling weather, and a delicious gravy which tasted strongly of Thyme and was an excellent earthy counterbalance to the sweetness of the grapes. The pheasant was roasted beautifully, and had a crispy skin that tasted of black pepper. A masterpiece! The Polenta was a delicious, creamy blanket to indulge in the flavors. I truly want to eat this again soon. My friend had the Beet Salad which I tried and can say was delicous, and then a Pork Chop which had sort of a Southwestern treatment with onions, peppers, tomatillos and mint (perhaps instead of a more expected Cilantro?) She also enjoyed her meal. Desserts also proved excellent - we tried the ice cream (black pepper, cinnamon raisin and coffee) and the fig tart which was exceptional. It had a wonderful consistency and came with a dark chocolate sauce which was a delicious rich counterpoint to the fruit. You can tell I liked the place! I mention the service experience first because that seems to be a common topic- but for me it would never get in the way of me going back.
Cookshop is one of my favorite restaurants. I've dined there several times and will be back.
Once I ordered something I didn't like. There wasn't anything wrong with it, I chose something risky for me. The waiter asked if something was wrong with my dish, I said not it was fine. Just not my personal taste, I just thought I give the dish a try. They took it off the bill. Completely not necessary, but that's great customer service to me.
Just ate there again tonight (Sunday night) and another great meal!! Don't know what everyone is complaining about. Food speaks for itself and more than makes up for the weak waiter and serving staff. I do agree with the complaints about the waitstaff, as they are just not qualified or professional however, the food was FANTASTIC, and we had a very pleasurable experience!! Great duck, and awesome pork chops. The snacks are fantastic as well. Fried hominy, and duck tacquitos. Just try it for yourself.
Perhaps the experience of eating there relates to what night it is? A lot of places, unfortunately, go downhill on Fri/Sat when the out-of-towners come in, presumably because they think it is OK to treat people from New Jersey like crap because they will be less likely to complain. Should not be the case, but I feel like I almost always like a Friday night place less than a Tuesday night one.
To wit, I ate at Cookshop once, on a Monday/Tuesday I think, and was very happy. We showed up early, they gave us a nice seat at the bar, then transferred everything (even though we had food ordered at the bar) to our table. The sommelier was helpful, courteous and accurate in her recommendations, and the waiter we had was great, too. I thought the food was generally pretty good, or at least on par with Five Points. I would definitely go back.
If anything like what you describe happened to me, I would not go back.
My wife and I dined with another couple at Cookshop 5 or 6 weeks ago, and although there were many rocky moments throughout our meal, our overall experience was very good. As people have mentioned over and over, they were out of several dishes that evening, and we were ordering our meal at 7:30pm on a Saturday night! How can you already be out of entrees so early in the evening?
However, what they did have, was very delicious and we all enjoyed our meal. In fact, they did not have the wine that we picked from the wine list, and the sommelier went above and beyond by letting us taste another wine to see if we would like that selection instead!
To make up for the lack of entrees and not having the wine that we had requested, they gave us complimentary desserts!!
Overall a very good experience and meal.
As for waiting, the maitre d' was pretty much a jackass when we were there, so I think that he may be the root of many peoples unfavorable experiences.
We are definately going back, as the food speaks for itself!
I was at Cookshop on Saturday for brunch and also found the service so-so. When we were asking the waiter questions about things on the menu he kept mentioning things that weren't on that day's menu. Apparently the menu changes often, but I would think the waiter should have looked at the day's menu when he got in.
I ordered one of two poached egg dishes on the menu that came with virginia ham steak and a cheese fondue. When my meal came out I got poached eggs with a salt cod cake instead and when I told him I had ordered the other poached eggs he and the server kept insisting then that I must have wanted the baked eggs (there were no baked eggs on the menu). I kept the dish so as not to waste food. To the waiter's credit (though he never really apologized or acknowleged his mistake), he did send out a side of the virgina ham steak. But the lunch was just kind of disappointing because I didn't get the dish I'd ordered.
I am pretty surprised to read these messages. I have been to Cookshop three times and every time has been a standout; though we did have the same waiter twice. But the hostess, manager, sommelier and waiter were all perfectly nice and welcoming. And we loved the food. I much prefer Cookshop to Five Points actually!
Just goes to show how one bad apple can spoil the bunch.
We also had a very good experience. And I think I preferred my meal over the two I'd had previously at Five Points. Though I really like Five Points as well. I'm just wondering why there seem to be so many bad experiences? And I'm glad mine wasn't one of them. I'm still looking forward to trying their brunch.
You can read my original review here:
I ate at Cookshop for lunch last week and I found the service quite scattered and familiar. In addition, the menu was much smaller than on the site - there were appetizers, mostly salads w/one soup, four salads with meat, and three sandwiches. there were no entrees, and instead of fries, potato chips! and no burger! it is a pleasant room and I might try dinner at some point but I won't go back for lunch.
It's such a shame about Cookshop--I'm a Five Points devotee, and probably dine there once a week. I went to Cookshop for dinner once, with 3 friends. The food was very good, but our waiter had just not been trained properly. She was far too casual with us throughout the meal and, after we paid the check, she came back and very aggressively asked why we had left her such a small tip. When we pointed out her math was wrong (she was $50 off), she basically said, "oops" and tried to laugh it off. We weren't laughing. Realizing how pissed we were, she sent the hostess over (now, isn't that what she should have done in the first place?). The hostess didn't apologize (neither had the waiter), but told us "how bad" the waiter felt about her mistake. She then offered to buy us a round of drinks (frankly, an apology would have been better) but, by then, we just wanted to leave. None of us have been back since. Five Points is run extremely well--good management, excellent staff--but it seems like they just didn't put in that effort with Cookshop.
That is pretty ridiculous.
We had a completely different experience back in February!
We'd heard negative things about the staff but were seated right away in a friendly manner. Our server was outgoing and helpful and never stopped smiling. And the Sommelier recommended a very good wine.
I don't know how long they can last with inconsistent service.
I often think restaurant owners would be well served by reading these boards.
Some of them are so cocky they just don't care.
I agree. Food was OK, service was horrible. I was there a few months ago with a group of 5... one of the people in our party had to ask repetedly for her food after all of the rest of us were served. We waited, and waited, and waited... finally, the dish came out after all of the rest of us were finished. Not even an apology from the server, although they did take the dish off of the bill... That was only one of the many problems with the service. It's a shame since their other restaurant, Five Points, is so great.