West Hollywood, Los Angeles
Cooks County is hands down my new favorite restaurant. As someone who eats out at least seven meals a week, this is no small feat. Before I get to the food – which is fantastic – let me tell you all the other things I love about this new restaurant, which just opened this fall.
The atmosphere: Cooks County is light and airy, with a carefully constructed vibe that is cool and inviting without being trendy or overly hipster, and full of thoughtful touches, like the hanging lightbulb fixtures, the sunroof on the side of the wood-beamed ceiling, and the blue and white striped dish-towels they use as table napkins.
The staff: I’ve had the same waitress both times I’ve been here and she is awesome. She is warm and friendly and actually answers your questions about each dish with thoughtful explanations, rather than telling you that everything is fantastic (this is a pet peeve of mine at restaurants). For example, when I was trying to decide between the pecan sticky bun, the jelly doughnuts, and the ginger scone with clotted cream for dessert, she put them on a spectrum of sweetness to help me decide.
The bathroom: Silly as it sounds to pick this as something to comment on, how many times have you eaten at a great restaurant, only to go into the bathroom and find it dirty, undecorated, or without paper towels? The bathroom at Cooks County is an individual room with a small table with a plant and a lavender burning candle and is clean and pleasant.
And of course, the most important part, the food. I think I have tried almost everything on the brunch menu (benefit of bringing your entire family and insisting on tasting everyone’s food) and every single thing was delicious. The portions are really well sized – big enough that you don’t feel hungry at the end, but small enough that you can clean your plate, find room for desert, and leave full but not so stuffed that you need to immediately take a nap (well, maybe only a short nap…).
I ordered the duck egg crostone with pancetta and parmesan and it was a thing of beauty. The parmesan was grated softly across the top of the dish and it really brought the flavors of the dish together. The pancetta was flavorful but not overwhelming, and the bread was grilled and the right consistency to complement the egg and the greens.
And luckily, because it was not enormous, I was able to try the sticky bun – which was the best sticky bun I have ever had. The top of the bun is caramelized with pecans, which are also hidden in small pieces throughout the bun, creating a texture that is a mix of soft, sticky, and crunchy in every bite. It’s definitely a dish for sweet lovers (this was the sweet end of the spectrum the waitress told me about) but it’s not too sweet to polish off the whole thing almost by yourself (I let my husband have a bite or two).
I’m trying Cooks County for dinner tonight – expect more raving about this restaurant to come.More info: Cooks County http://www.cookscountyrestaurant.com/Home.html 8009 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (323) 653-8009