Photo Credit: Liz Clayman
On another Friday night in New York City, you have two choices: 1.) Begrudgingly get dressed and meet up your boyfriend/girlfriend/some friend for the usual drinks and grub like you’ve done for the last 10 years (has it been that long since college?) or 2.) Stay in bed, Netflix binge, and order takeout like the old fart you are.
In most cases option two would be the clear winner here (really though, have you seen the weather outside?) because unfortunately there just aren’t enough places to eat well and drink well and socialize without yelling yourself hoarse over repetitions of too-loud-Top-40.
But then again—this is NYC, and there’s always an exception to the rule.
Photo Credit: Liz Clayman
Enter: Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen Chelsea. The second location of an East Village staple, Cooper’s is gastropub dining at its finest. Replete with a spacious bar (and plenty of stools!), soft lighting and exposed brick walls, Cooper’s interior quickly sets the mood for an intimate night of dining and drinking with people you actually like. Add Prince, Chaka Khan and a deliciously inventive menu you definitely did not see coming, and you’ve just met your perfect Friday night in the city.
Here you’ll finally eat and drink like the fabulous adult you are (yes, adult), so save Netflix for another night, and put on some pants. Your ultimate three-course meal at Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen Chelsea awaits.
Appetizer: Crispy Artichokes
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 lack luster house sald. 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 starter, $12, is 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.
Entrée: Roasted Cauliflower Steak
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.
Dessert: Apple Cobbler & Ice Cream
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.
We won’t bother building this one up because it should be pretty self-explanatory that it’s almost too good to handle. Order yourself a Hoppy Meal (a mac slider, fries and IPA) and you’ll even land yourself a little parachute man — for adults only.
Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen also offers some killer brews from around the world, from seasonal beers to limited edition draughts, so it’s truly a one-stop-shop if you love to eat and drink.
And let’s be honest: You know you do.
Cooper’s Craft & Kitchen is open for lunch and dinner, Sunday through Wednesday from 11:00am to 2:00am; Thursday to Saturday from 11:00am – 3:00am. So hurry up…get going!
Brunch is coming soon…and we can’t wait.