It's no secret that the hottest restaurants are often found inside the hottest hotels in every major city. Such is the case for Cook Hall in Atlanta.
Located inside the Buckhead W Hotel on the city's main drag (Peachtree Road), it's as if there’s a perfect solution for customers who have exceeded their gastropub limit. Cook Hall has a relaxed bar feel with saucy cocktails and Southern flare.
Cook Hall's menu is full of interesting cocktail choices. One selection that's perfectly suited for spring and summer weather is the A French Pair aperitif, made with white sparkling wine, elderflower liqueur, and pear bitters. For those wanting a different genre of cocktail, the Port Manhattan should not be missed. With a base of bourbon, Portuguese port wine (Graham's Six Grapes Reserve), and a dash of house-made walnut bitters, the Port Manhattan seems like it would be sweet, but by the time it rolls back onto the palate, where the sharpness of the bitters seemed to kick in, it is simply marvelous and mellow. Another great option is the Cocktail Kit. Carried from table to table, the kit includes fresh rosemary from the restaurant's street-side garden, fresh mint, fruit, house-made shrubs, and sodas (including ginger beer) to be combined with your preferred alcohol. Then there are the bitters that are made with genuine absinthe, which can be added to your one-of-a-kind concoction, or your choice from the house cocktail menu.
Kick off a meal at Cook Hall with a plate of raw oysters. Known for their fruity flavor and buttery texture, Kumamoto oysters are a mainstream favorite. In comparison, Blue Point oysters tend to be a bit saltier, with a hint of celery. With a good douse of Cook Hall's house-made hot sauce and their cucumber mignonette, either oyster is likely to please.
Cook Hall also has fun daily specials, like their Cheddar fritters, bouncy balls of tender Cheddar fried to a golden crisp.
Moving on in the meal, the Roasted Radish Bruschetta, served on wedges of toast with honey butter, is like a slice of heaven. The Panzanella Roasted Vegetable Salad (beets, carrots, cauliflower, arugula, asparagus, tomatoes, goat cheese, and croutons) has a light and flavorful ginger and Thai chile dressing that's colorful and bursting with flavor. The Crispy Duck Tacos are loaded with chipotle red cabbage slaw that added a nice kick to the savory meat. The plate of plump, succulent, fresh-tasting Spicy Paprika Shrimp and Grits (with Tasso ham and creamy Fontina cheese) was cooked to perfection. Pork belly is common in the South, where the pig rules, and the Pork Belly Sliders included a slaw topping along with a chile mayo to enhance the richness of the pork belly. The greatest indulgence, though, has to be the Black Truffle Grilled Cheese. This delight evoked a true savory snack at a Parisian bistro, making this indulgence totally worth it.
For dessert that’s not too sweet, you won't go wrong with the Strawberry Cream Cheese Layer Cake. But for something a bit more substantial, try the Stout Beer Ice Cream Sundae — the bitterness of the beer combined with the sweetness of the ice cream is simply delectable.