Friday, May 6, 2016

Lunch At The Coop: Cooper's Hawk That Is

A cooper is someone in the trade of making utensils, casks, drums and barrels and other accessories, usually out of wood. A Cooper's Hawk is a national chain that includes an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room. We didn't see any coopers when we walked in to the Hawk for lunch, but we did see an impressive selection of wines by the bottle for purchase.

Our party of three was greeted by the hostess and guided to an indoor table. There is a relaxing outdoor garden dining area, but we chose to dine in the main dining area. Hardly had our party settled into our comfy booth before we were greeted by the effervescent Bonita who described the wines, the dishes, and the Cooper's concept. Bonita offered suggestions for food and wine and allowed us time to leisurely peruse the many choices on the extensive menu.

On our way to the table, we passed a large wine barrel. Bonita explained that this was essentially the house wine ... but it was so much more than a simple house wine. This Cooper's Hawk Red is a delightful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah with aromas of raspberry, black cherry, blackberry, tobacco, vanilla bean, and cracked pepper. This wine had a fruity nose and great legs. After a sample for each of us, Bonita brought a carafe of this elixir along with a loaf of superb pretzel bread and a tub of creamy butter.

We decided to share an appetizer, the Asian Pork Belly Tostadas, a heavenly creation with scallions, sesame seeds, cilantro, radish, and sweet chili BBQ sauce.

This was a savory, perfectly prepared delight with crispy, yet juicy, morsels of pork belly with fresh tasting culinary accoutrements.

Each person in our party chose different entrees. We will start with the Gnocchi Carbonara with pancetta, chicken, sage, and peas languishing in a Parmesan garlic cream sauce.

Gnocchi has been a traditional type of Italian pasta probably of Middle Eastern origin since Roman times. If the ancient Romans ate like this then they were certainly well fed. The carbonara sauce was light and flavorful, the chicken was plentiful, and the dumplings were perfectly al dente.

Dana's Parmesan Crusted Chicken with tomato basil relish, lemon butter, mashed potatoes, and garlic green beans was another lunch time treasure.

The chicken was cooked to perfection and had a delightful crunch from the Parmesan, the potatoes were creamy, and the green beans were neither too hard or overcooked -  a simple yet sophisticated dish.

As good as everything was up to this point, I have saved the very best for last - the orgasmically (figuratively speaking) good The Prime, a slow roasted prime rib sandwich with seasoned mayo, house made steak jus, and a little tub of horseradish cream. The diner has a choice of a side. I requested the excellent Asian Soy Cole Slaw.

There is no doubt in my mind that this sliced beef was truly prime. It was so tender and juicy it could have been nothing else. The au jus was perfection. The horseradish cream was tangy but really not needed. Dip the sandwich in the jus and moan with pleasure. I did!

A dessert was not needed, but Bonita tempted us with the decadent Reese's Ice Cream Cookie. This warm chocolate chip cookie was baked with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, and served with vanilla ice cream.

Cooper's Hawk provided the most memorable lunch time repast and, thankfully, I didn't have to go back to work after this meal - not without a two hour nap anyway. Lunch for three with food, wine, and dessert came to a little less than $125 - very reasonable for the quality of the food.

Cooper's Hawk Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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