Where Did We Go?
Cook & Collins
2416 Brazos Street, Suite C, Houston, Texas 77006
What's the Skinny?
With a focus on offsetting the more high-end restaurant appeal in Midtown, Cook & Collins is making a name as the areas newest neighborhood destination. On first look, the restaurant was somewhat unrecognizable given its previous Tex Mex occupants. I was impressed by the level and amount of change and found the vibe to be welcoming, modern, and somewhat trendy; while maintaining a common theme. Serving up American comfort food, you will find the staples of soups, salads, burgers, and flatbreads available all day. Then, a slight progression to more complex dishes for their evening fare.
Open now for a little over one month, Chef partner Jared Estes, managing partner Donny Salvato, executive chef Joshua Shobe and general manager Chris Payne, are all set on bringing a more accessible option to Midtown. From the upstairs dining area that is perfect for groups, an outside option available just in the time for Spring, and a full service bar, they seem to be headed in the right direction.
What Did We Love?
During my visit, I got the chance to sample a dish from just about every category and course offered at Cook & Collins. For starters, I loved the Loaded Potato Smashers (gold gold potatoes, bacon, smokey queso, and sour cream). The technique is crucial here and the sequence of "smash" then "fry" was the winning element. I assume the Angry Birds (crispy chicken thighs, sweet heat, pineapple, almonds, and cilantro) were a hit with the table, but were clearly upset with me, because they never made it to my end (side eye :)). The Mac & Cheese Crab Rolls were a miss and the texture was off, but the side dish of White Cheddar Mac & Cheese made it right again. I found the flatbread options to be unique; each offering something off the beaten path. I tend the steer away from anything sweet in this area, so the White Bird Flatbread (pulled chicken, warm candied bacon, grape tomato, green, onion, and creamy garlic) was quite appealing.
The surprise of the evening was the Wild Rose Buffalo Meatloaf (served with garlic mashed potatoes, creamy spinach, spicy ketchup, and melted onion broth). There was no over the top gamey flavor here. The profile was balanced, the meatloaf itself was tender, and the creamed spinach (made with parmesan cream and nutmeg) made for a well-rounded entree. Another hit was the Sweet Potato Ravioli In Brown Butter (served with kale, goat cheese, toasted almonds, and maple gastrique). It was my favorite of the night and I can't wait to go back to order a full serving. I opted for the layered Butterscotch Pudding Jar for my after dinner treat. Managing to get a full scoop from top to bottom is a task, but well worth the effort.
Overall, I think Cook & Collins is a great and much needed addition to Midtown. No, every dish was not as successful as I would have hoped but any restaurant needs its time to make things perfect. Plus, any restaurant that is partially named after a Tom Collins, has a special place in my heart.
Urban Swank did receive a complimentary tasting, but the opinions expressed are our own.