Adulting at Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen
Here’s the thing about starting with greens. If you’re going to have a salad to start, don’t do yourself a disservice by ordering a Caesar, or worse, a lackluster house salad. Fortunately, such uninspiring salads don’t even make an appearance on Cooper’s starters menu, but there is one particular dish that takes the salad game to an entirely new level.
The crispy artichokes, $12, are way more than greens and veggies on a plate. Layered on a bed of fresh arugula, you’ll bite into warm, fried (oh yes), meaty artichokes, shaved fennel and julienned, perfectly tart Granny Smith apples, dressed lightly (and may we add, pretty perfectly) with balsamic vinaigrette and seasoned with gremolata.
It’s hard to say whether it’s the ingenious preparation of the artichokes, the accompaniment of the super fresh fennel and apples, or the gremolata seasoning (a chopped herb condiment usually made with lemon zest, garlic and parsley) that takes this salad over the top because truthfully — it’s more likely that it’s all of the above. Impressive first course: check.
Tell us your mouth isn’t already drooling with one look at the beautiful creation. It doesn’t matter if you’re a vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or a whatever else—if it’s just food on a plate, then it’s just an average meal. What’s important for any diner — especially one in NYC — is that a dish have some semblance of the chef’s creativity, innovation and genuine love for creating palatable art.
And Cooper’s roasted cauliflower steak, $16, is just that. Scrumptious as it is gorgeous, this main is made from root vegetable quinoa, golden raisins, shaved fennel, parsley and aged balsamic. Oh, yeah — and that wonderfully roasted cauliflower sitting atop.
What’s perhaps the most impressive about this dish is the thought that you know went behind it. There was none of that archaic ‘just replace the meat with a vegetable to make it vegetarian’ methodology here. And it’s that creativity and use of fresh, surprisingly complementary ingredients that make this entrée not only a huge winner for vegans/vegetarians, but also a solid must-try for all adventurous foodies.
And if you haven’t learned by the first two courses, you should know this was [obviously] no ordinary apple cobbler and pie. That’s warm, gooey, practically-still-baking apple cobbler topped with a heaping scoop of toasted pecan and bourbon ice cream. The end.
Foram is a writer and editor who can’t believe she spent most of her life as a picky eater. She’s been with GMF since 2014, as the former NYC editor and now as a regular contributor. A Texas expat and former New Yorker currently living in San Francisco, Foram went vegan in 2015, while simultaneously uncovering the best veg-friendly spots in the city and around the world. She aims to eat at sustainable restaurants that use ethically-sourced ingredients and believes giving back to the community is paramount to a more harmonious world. Also, hot sauce and dessert.