Cook Hall, pegged as a modern "American gastropub" has taken over the space that once housed Tom Colicchio's Craft. The restaurant has been transformed from a formal dining room to a laid back-ish (let's keep in mind this is the W Hotel) gastropub. The space is steeped in rich woods, Edison bulbs dangle from the ceiling and exposed concrete pillars adorned with vintage-looking art pierce the dining area.
The kitchen, conducted by Rick Graff, takes a refined spin on American comfort foods; crab-infused deviled eggs, pork belly sliders, edamame sprinkled with mint, oysters, popcorn shrimp (literally breaded in popcorn and served with homemade ranch dressing) and roasted radishes on buttery toast are a few items on the seasonally rotating and "farm-to-table" menu. For those on a budget or looking to grab a small bite after work, the restaurant is doing a "5 at 5" daily happy hour special in which five different bites and drinks are on special for $5 each.
While the restaurant boasts these spins on American fare, the central focus is meant to be on the bar and its handcrafted cocktails, particularly the Cook Hall cocktail kits in which diners are invited to concoct their own drink. The "liquid laboratory" consists of a shot of alcohol of choice and the Cook Hall cocktail kits filled with bottled juices, extracts, tinctures (even wormwood), fresh fruit and herbs. Diners are encouraged to experiment and interact with one another and even write down their recipes in the provided Moleskine journal. While some drinks are sure to turn out delicious, we predict some major flops along the way.
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Cook Hall opened its doors to the public yesterday.