While working on my review of Cook Hall, I kept wondering if the restaurant would draw the consistent crowd that eluded Craft. Craft closed earlier this year because of slow sales and a concept that didn't really suit the neighborhood. Cook Hall swept in to counter these problems with a casual and more approachable menu that seemed more tailored to a transient crowd at the W hotel in Victory Park.
See also: - Try Cook Hall for a Pregame Fill-up
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During my first visit, on a weeknight, the place was a ghost town. I sat at the bar with some dude from Chicago and nibbled on small bites before indulging a massive fish sandwich with a shoddy bun. I left less than impressed, but open minded, and decided to come back closer to the weekend.
During my second visit the bar area was mobbed. The food I'd ordered wasn't any better, but a Mavs game that was scheduled that evening drew a number of blue jerseys. The place felt invigorated and alive, and customers stood around the bar with drinks in hand.
Visit three was right back to an empty dining room, and wouldn't you know that this was when I found the best dishes the menu offers. A hanger steak and a burger were perfectly cooked and promptly devoured.
If you stumble into Cook Hall on the right night and pick the right menu items, I have no doubt you'll have a great time. Unfortunately I think there are too many landmines to navigate, making for a restaurant with no real draw on it's own.