Atlanta: Cooks & Soldiers
photo courtesy of Cooks & Soldiers FB page
You may remember that earlier in the summer I visited Atlanta for the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival with my good friend Lisa. This is one trip I look forward to every year, because even though it’s technically work, we have plenty of time to play as well! And I must say, Lisa is the perfect traveling companion, as she’s an adventurous and voracious eater like me.
When I was researching Atlanta restaurants, there were several that looked great, but many that didn’t look very different from what Nashville has to offer, so that made it pretty easy to narrow down our choices. I was determined to eat a meal that I couldn’t find here at home, and we did just that. Cooks & Soldiers is a new-ish (opened very late 2014) Basque restaurant on the Westside.
Caña Klasikoa at Cooks & Soldiers, Atlanta
Goat cheese, roasted tomato, green pepper, shallot jam, pistachio
Spain’s Basque region is located on the northern seacoast near France. As you know, I just got back from a vacation to France and Spain, so this area was one that I’d already done a bit of research on when planning our upcoming trip. From what I understand, the area is known for pintxos — not tapas. Of course, I’ll be completely honest and admit that I am not an expert in pintxos vs tapas, but if you’re interested in learning more, you can see what this guy has to say. The one thing I do know is that I absolutely love Spanish food and the way almost everything is served in small bites, or in a manner that is meant to be shared.
At Cooks & Soldiers, their menu is broken into 4 parts: pintxos tradicionales (toasts), pintxos especiales (small plates), main plates from the asador (grill), and side dishes.
Naturally we started at the top with the pintxos tradicionales, ordering the Caña Klasikoa and the Huevos y Gambas. The latter, cucumber gribiche and cured rock shrimp on toast, was great but paled in comparison to the Caña Klasikoa, which was goat cheese, roasted tomato, green pepper, shallot jam and pistachio. This toast still haunts me in my dreams.
Cooks & Soldiers’ Hamachi Crudo
Thinly sliced hamachi, mango carpaccio, coconut, lime, Yuzukosho
Toward the end of our meal that evening, we both decided we couldn’t leave the restaurant without having another order of Caña Klasikoa. Oh my goodness. After taking a quick peek at their menu just now, I’m happy to report that they are still on the menu, so I hope they stay there forever because the next time I’m in town, I must have some!
Before I go further, I must apologize for the not-so-great quality of all of these photos. We dined after dark on the patio, with just a small candle as our only source of light. On top of that, I only had my iphone with me, not my better camera that can sometimes pull off a few decent quality shots in dim lighting. Please believe me when I say that all of the dishes looked soooo much prettier in person than they do here.
Pulpo at Cooks & Soldiers, Atlanta
Grilled Mediterranean octopus, chickpeas, chorizo, cracked olives, orange, smoked Marcona almonds
After the toasts, we moved on to the small plates and the grill, devouring hamachi crudo, pulpo, and veal cheeks -all really flavorful and unique. At this point we were satiated, but not stuffed, which is exactly how it should be after a great meal. Of course, while I was no longer hungry, per usual, I still wanted a little something sweet.
We looked over the dessert menu, but nothing was really calling to us, so we decided to revisit the pintxos especiales section, as there was a dish there that caught our eye earlier. While we both love beets, we’d skipped the ‘Beets & Peaches’ in favor of meatier things for dinner.
Cooks & Soldiers’ Beets and Peaches
Grated red beets, grilled peaches, raspberry, pistachio, house ricotta
This dish was absolutely the perfect ending to this incredible meal. The textures and flavors of grated beets, grilled peaches, raspberries, pistachio and housemade ricotta had our palates singing. Lisa was so enamored that she analyzed every single bite she took, trying to memorize every aspect in hopes of recreating it at home. Truly fantastic.
Above I shared two photos of the dish – mine taken with my iphone and one from Cooks & Soldiers Instagram account (on right). Amazing what a little light, a white bowl and a good camera will do!
Seven Are One cocktail at Cooks & Soldiers, Atlanta
Oh, and I almost forgot! How could I forget?? I had one of the best cocktails EVER — the Seven Are One, a mixture of gin, lime juice, simple syrup, cherry tomatoes, basil and salt. Wow. I may have had a couple. Or three. Who’s counting?
691 14th St NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
Sun-Wed 5 – 10pm
Thurs 5 – 11 pm
Fri & Sat 5 pm – midnight
Bar open until 2 am