cockscomb in soma part one....it's the lead up to all the meat
If a mostly meat focused restaurant opens in my neighborhood, hell yeah I'm gonna check it out. Though if it is pricey, I'm also gonna wait till they have been open awhile to get really rolling before I shell out the big bucks, because that's the value meal cheapness in me. This was the case with Cockscomb, yes, that's the name. It is the latest restaurant venture by Chris Cosentino, he of the former master Top Chef, HGTV and media savvy chef who has now decided to concentrate solely on food, or more specifically, whole animal cooking.
We had made reservations which was fortunate as the place was jumping. Originally they were going to seat us upstairs, didn't know they had one, but I saw two seats at the counter where you could watch them cook and asked if we could get those instead.
This isn't the spot for everybody, it can get warm, open flames and all, but me and the SO really like to watch them cook. Added bonus, the grill master said if we had any questions just ask him. Score!
The menu is meat centric from stem to stern. Some of their dishes are well known like the whole pigs head and the pin bone steak. We decided to forgo those choices and spread out meat dishes out and try more of their choices. Before I dive in, one point of note, I knew the place was above average in cost and I won't bitch too much about it, maybe.
Hey, what better way to start a meat centric meal than with a fancy grilled cheese sandwich with a fried duck egg, shaved truffle and honey. Honestly, it seemed interesting, even at the $17 price tag. Execution, however, was a little underwhelming. It wasn't exactly served hot and gooey, in fact, there wasn't much cheese here to be melty. We were expecting it be hot, or at least warmer than it was. While there was truffle on top, you couldn't taste it unless you ate it by itself. The real over riding flavor here was the honey or more specifically, sweet. It turned out to be way sweeter than we thought it would be and the egg added another layer of richness, but not in a good way. It all tasted rather cloying, like French toast with an undercooked egg on it. Sometimes we try things on a lark, particularly when it is a ramped up version of childhood faves. It's like they know they can offer up fancy versions of these things and we will fall for it out of some nostalgia. Maybe it could have been great and as is it might work for some folks, just not us. Too much of some things and not enough of others. An inauspicious start to the meal as another over priced sandwich does me in.
They do a seasonal bruschetta and why not? It was a shredded goose, balsamic drizzle and burrata on toasted bread. It's like an open faced sandwich for $16. We did actually like this, not love it, but like it. The goose was tender though sort of greasy and it kind of reminded me of pulled pork. There was a lot of fat running through this from the meat to the cheese and for some folks it may be a bit heavy, which is probably why it isn't a large portion. Not sure this is something we would get again though, it was interesting, but not wow. Since this changes regularly (they've even done salmon) the goose most likely won't be available so you'll just have to wait and see if it's a meat your interested in.
This is one of those places where mains don't necessarily come with sides, you need to pay the roughly $7 upcharge if you some kind of vegetable with your dish. Sometimes you have to just to convince yourself you are eating healthy, though except for the bread, many of these plates were Atkins friendly. You know, meat and all. Anyway, we saw many of this side being ordered and we got one too. Cauliflower sauteed in duck fat with chili, garlic and mint. Taste wise, not the most exciting thing we've ever eaten. The mint and chili are not flavors prevalent through the dish, just when you eat either a chili or a mint leaf. There isn't any heat to the chili so don't even worry about it, which was too bad. We felt it could have used something, even salt and pepper. Neither one of us could tell duck fat was used here. I guess our palates aren't quite that defined to pick it up. Ultimately, this tasted like cauliflower sauteed in oil and it was cooked well. Not too crunchy or too soft, so there is that. It was just eh, didn't love it, didn't totally hate it. Though, we didn't even finish this and it is not too large of a portion. Maybe we should have gone with the oven roasted acorn squash, visually, it at least looked interesting.
Sure, it's only been a few plates, but neither one of us are wowed by anything. And for sitting right next to the cooking action, I have to say, our orders came out slowly. Yes, the place was busy, but there were gaps of 10 minutes or so between each plate we had. Service wasn't bad, just seemed unusual for a place that has been open going on 2 years. Might be why some of the plates we got were more room temperature warm than recently prepared warm.
But we weren't done as the main meat entrees were on their way. Which seems like a good place to end part one of this long review. As a preview, I will say me and the floor manager had an intense discussion about fat on a pork chop with some not exactly satisfying results. Stay tuned....
Till then, Chef Cosentino also recently opened a peak into his personal life on Chefs Feed with a video about his struggles with depression over the years. Worth a look.