Cooks & Soldiers

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I recently took a short trip to Atlanta, first time, and wasn’t 100% sure what to expect in terms of the food scene. I mean, I’m quite familiar with Waffle House, but wanted to, you know, go beyond the land of late night waffles. I got a tip on a few places, and had to check them out. First, I was off to Cooks & Soldiers.

First off, the aesthetic here is wonderful. The space is open, a little industrial, but structured, with fantastic light fixtures. The menu is mainly driven by Spanish cuisine, with some other Mediterranean influence. Everything on the menu sounded incredible, and luckily, the focus is mainly on sharing plates, so, you get to try a number of things.

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First, I had the Hongos Y Setas (coal roasted mushrooms, goat cheese crème fraiche, black truffle). Are you there, God? It’s me, Sprung, and I would like to eat this everyday. Thanks. This was so incredibly delicious. The toast is crisp around the edges, and softened in the middle, soaking up the rich truffle flavor and smear of crème fraiche to cut a bit of that richness. The mushrooms are tender and flavorful, and all together perfection.

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Next, I had the Tortilla Espanola (classic Basque omelette, onion and potato, garlic allioli). Another total slam dunk here. The layers of potato are savory and tender, and the garlic allioli on top adds a creamy richness that compliments it so nicely. It was completely delicious.

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After that, I had the Ratatouille (Piperade, wood grilled squash and eggplant, one hour egg, guindilla). This was a very nice dish, but not my favorite of the bunch. The vegetables were absolutely fresh and delicious, but I would have preferred them to be a bit more stewed, since they were a little al dente to me. The flavors were really nice, but I’m also not a runny yolk type of person, so the egg kind of threw me off.

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Next, I had the Azalorea Erreta (charred cauliflower steak, cauliflower cous cous, capers, carrot chicharron). This was pretty fabulous. The cauliflower’s natural flavors maintained their integrity, and when paired with the creamy and rich sauce that they were laid on top of, it really balanced nicely. I loved the capers with this, adding a bit of saltiness to the more neutral flavor of the cauliflower, and the carrot chicharron was just brilliant.

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Finally, the winner of the evening might have to go to the Pulpo (grilled Mediterranean octopus, guanciale, roasted new potato, fennel, squid ink). To start, visually this was gorgeous. The squid ink here was in more of a substantial sort of puree than I’ve had before, and I loved it. It was savory and spicy and amazing. The charred fennel went really well with the spice of the squid ink, balancing out the bitterness. The octopus was perhaps the most tender octopus that I’ve had, completely melting in your mouth. On top was probably the most interesting element, not noted on the menu, I believe that I was told is might have been a paper-thin taro crisp? It was basically like rice paper, but salty and seemed to have the flavor of a taro root. It was fantastic. 

The Shorts:
Name: Cooks & Soldiers
Location: 691 14th Street NW, Atlanta, GA
The Long and Short: Would I go back? 100%. This menu is amazing, the service is phenomenal. I’m only bummed that I was too full to try their fantastic sounding desserts.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. Try as many items as you can, I’m sure you’ll be delighted by all of it.

Dimes

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Dimes isn’t new, they opened up in 2013, but they recently moved into a bigger space, which has been getting them a lot of attention. Probably because now, more people can join in the restaurant to get their healthy, yet still delicious fix. So, I was off to scope out the new digs at their Chinatown location.

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Ok, so, remember how I said they were expanding into a bigger space? Well, it’s still pretty cozy, but, this is New York, so, we’re all pretty used to smaller spaces. However, the amount of appeal from their menu is huge. I wanted to order about half of all the items on the menu, but I zoned in on a dish for my main. I ordered the Striped Bass (green curry, salmon roe, baby corn, patty pan squash). So. This was incredible. The only negative thing I can say about this dish, was that there wasn’t three times the amount of it for me to eat. It was so incredibly delicious, as well as beautifully plated. The vibrancy of colors immediately lures you in, and then the flavors win you over. The fish has a light and crisp skin, and underneath it’s perfectly tender and flaky. The green curry sauce was killer, it had a kick of heat, and if I could order a bowl of that as soup, it’d eat it all the time in the winter to keep me warm. All the other components went so well together, the crispness of the corn, the soft and tender squash, and the saltiness from the roe. Well done, dish, well done.

The Shorts:
Name: Dimes
Location: 49 Canal Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. Service is great and the food is divine.
Would I recommend it? Definitely. I’m excited to get back to try so, so many more things.