Sunday, December 5, 2010

Date Night at Cook Street

When I invited my wife to Culinary Date Night at Cook Street , she lit up. Not only did we have something to look forward to on her Thanksgiving break (between studying for finals and studying for finals), but thanks to Aubrey from Sprocket we got in one one of the more highly coveted classes that Cook Street offers. But take this as my ignorant confession: I wasn't exactly sure what to expect going in.

I knew we were in for a treat when we walked in 5 minutes early and were the last ones in the class to arrive. I took that as a good sign, but for your future reference make sure you get there early for some apps. The cheese and charcuterie platter was already nicely dented by the time we got a crack at it.

Now I'm all about the best of the best restaurants in town, and I especially love finding the little neighborhood gems along the way. But something excited me about Cook Street- and I think it's because I was looking at an alternative way to enjoy a dining experience. Instead of a team of chefs cooking, you do the cooking. Instead of servers, you serve. Your wine glass is magically never empty, and of course: the end result is great food.

Chefs John and Brian welcomed the class, and began sharing the vision of Cook Street.  At this point, we knew we had our hands full, and that we would definitely get them dirty.

Chef Brian got us started with a tutorial on crepe making, and walked everyone through the Wild Mushroom and Herbed  Crepes with Chevre that would start off our meal. 

All along the way, grabbing a spoon and tasting the progress of a dish is the norm. Also helpful to see how the flavors of a dish build into layers. However, the Cook Street staff does not condone double dipping. 

The finished product after the hands-on crepe making party. A few folks also finished the filling while others stuffed the crepes themselves. It's amazing how much work you can get done with a small army.  

The tangy goat cheese filling of the crepes were well complemented by a light salad dressed in lemon vinaigrette. Paired with a 2006 Marques de Gelata Cava- a delicious sparkling white. 

Chef John prepping everyone on the Butternut Squash Risotto process- and even for someone who cooks on a regular basis, provided some very helpful tips to take home. For instance, who knew that cooking risotto with cold stock yielded   superior, creamy product? If you did, good for you. 

Admittedly- we didn't do all of the work. Some of the more time-consuming preparations (like the butternut squash puree) were managed prior in order to keep the class confined to a 3-hour window. 

Everyone finishing up their own artistically expressed risotto on the back range.  
Cornish game hens that were brined overnight- illustrating proper grilling technique and the benefits of brining poultry prior to cooking.

The spoils of toil- juicy, flavorful game hen over an incredible dish of
butternut squash risotto.  All in all, an enjoyable, complex, well-balanced meal that we could put our name on. 

And finally, a chocolate lovers dream- DIY truffles. Complete with a Grand Marnier ganache, and a bacon/bittersweet chocolate variety.
I may or may not have consumed a dozen... 

 So not only was walking into a joint with 18 commercial gas burners and open access probably the best idea I'd had all week (being the coldest night in recent memory), but Cook Street introduced me to a very entertaining alternative to fine dining in Denver. Warming me up even more to the idea of social dining was the wealth of culinary knowledge from the staff, as well as the casual atmosphere and format. And though Date Night was a great time with my wife, I look forward to going back for the even more coveted Steak & Scotch night with some of the dudes in the near future. Dish It Up!

Metered parking available on the street- and the staff does a good job reminding you when to feed it. 
Class costs vary from 50-90pp (details here)
December schedule is slim due to holiday parties, but a full calendar is set  for Jan 2011

Cook Street School of Fine Cooking on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous pics...

    From the windows in my apartment back in Boston's North End, I could see a building that bore a sign in giant letters: "Steak & Scotch." The restaurant that must've been there had long since closed, but the sign remained. Nothing has ever made me want to go back in time more.