Executive Chef: Landon Thompson
We stopped by on an early weekday evening right after 6 PM. (We had the best intentions to arrive earlier, but life and Atlanta traffic got in the way, and we couldn’t make it happen.) Mommy was really excited when she discovered that the restaurant had an adjacent parking garage and complimentary valet parking. Unexpected complimentary valet parking is to Mommy what ice cream for dessert is to us: the universe’s way of telling her she behaved well that day. Score one Gummy Bear for Cooks & Soldiers.
Our hostess brought a high chair right away, and our server immediately dropped off water in to-go cups with lids. After looking at Cooks & Soldiers’ menu and deciding that everything looked yummy, Mommy let our server drive. She asked him to recommend a few dishes and ordered most of what he recommended. He was really helpful and knew the menu backward and forward. He started us out with a great feast of tapas: Pato Ahumado (a mixture of smoked duck confit and other yummy ingredients, including brandied cherries, served atop perfectly toasted slices of crusty bread), Chistorra in a Blanket (Chistorra sausage wrapped in a sweet croissant, served with a maple-mustard allioli dipping sauce), Patatas (fried potatoes served with idiazabal cheese fondue and “Basque ketchup” – imagine regular ketchup, but with a slightly smoky flavor); Pulpo (grilled Spanish octopus, “charcoal potatoes” cooked with squid ink, a piquilloemulsion, and a little shot of rosemary oil served in a little plastic dropper); Bikini (cute little grilled ham and cheese sandwiches made with white American cheese, Jamon Iberico, and truffle oil).
Every small plate we tried was delicious – and, yes, we ate all of it! Our favorite dishes were the Bikini and Pulpo. The Bikini was basically the most perfect – and fanciest – grilled ham and cheese sandwich we had ever eaten. The truffle oil gave it a nice woodsy flavor. And the Pulpo … oh, the Pulpo. Generous servings of octopus tentacles grilled to a slight char, so tender that Mommy didn’t even have to question whether they’d be a choking hazard. The piquillo emulsion and rosemary oil added oomph to the dish without overpowering the octopus’s smoky-sea-salt flavor. We liked the Pato Ahumado and Patatas, too (well, we mostly liked the cherries on the Pato Ahumado). We did find that a few of the Patatas were a little salty, but we were able to counter that saltiness with the idiazabal cheese dip.
Even though we ended up taking some of our leftover fish and desserts home for Daddy to try, we were totally stuffed at the end of our visit. Mommy feared someone would have to roll all three of us out to the car on a serving cart. The awesome thing is, we think the crew at Cooks & Soldiers would have done that for us if the need arose. They were some of the most hospitable, attentive restaurant staffers we’ve ever met. And for that, Cooks & Soldiers gets the coveted fifth Gummy Bear.
691 14th St NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
Comment from Chef Landon Thompson, posted to our old website on April 16, 2015:“Thanks so much for the kind words little dudes… Come back soon!”