First Look: The Cookery


The Cookery, David DiBari and Michael O’Neill’s new restaurant in Dobbs Ferry, opened last week. I stopped by on Wednesday to make a video about the opening — and sampled some food when I was done. If you like simple, delicious food prepared by a talented chef who really cares about his ingredients — and you want to eat this food for a reasonable price in a comfortable, neighborhood setting — you’re going to love The Cookery.

Here’s a look, after the jump.

Lots of window panes in front. Once you head inside, there’s a bar on one side of the restaurant, and tables on the right:

I did some interviews with David and Michael — and watched as Dave’s mom and godmother made pasta downstairs. Check out the flour on David’s clogs:

A few customers were starting to come in.

As I mentioned in my first look at the restaurant, this table used to belong to David’s grandmother.

From the other post, I said:

Her name was Mary Capicotto — but Dave called her Mima. She lived in Verplank, and influenced David’s cooking from the get-go. Dave’s dad, Joe, talked with great nostaglia about eating at her house. Really, he was almost wistful when he said: “She’d go out in that garden and come in with all her tomatoes.” His favorite dish was her escarole soup with tomatoes, but he remembers many meals sitting at that table, especially Christmas Eve dinners, when Mima and the other women would prepare the Feast of the Seven Fishes.

“The women did all the work,” he said, laughing. “One course after another. Then men just sat at that table! The food was simply amazing.”

My reporting work done, I took a seat at the bar to wait for my friends for dinner. The view from the corner of the bar.

You can also see David in the kitchen from here:

While I waited for my friends to arrive, I tried one of the creative cocktails.

This is Obama’s Pineapple Stimulus Package:

It’s bascially a (delicious) pineapple mojito. It costs $10 on the menu, but when you order it, you get a dollar back. Hilarious.

The wine list is also cool. The bottles are organized by price. One side of the menu has red, the other white, and you can get every single wine by the bottle or the glass.

The menu starts with house-cured meats. There are 13 different appetizers and salads and 6 each of pastas and entrees. You get a nice little bag of bread to start:

I tried the arugula salad with prosciutto, kumquats and gorgonzola picante ($9):

Lightly dressed, nice balance. The gorgonzola chunks are huge.

Also the salad of mussels, calamari, peppers and lemon-pressed olive oil ($10):

This was fantastic. Calamari was not chewy, just had a nice toothiness. Just the right amount of lettuce. Mussels were clean and fresh. Really nice for a spring day.

We got two crostini. Both were terrific.

This is crostino of fresh ricotto, truffle honey and thyme:

I want this for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Light, fresh, sweet and herbaceous, with the crunch of the bread and the moist cheese. Lovely.

And mozzarella with olio novella and grilled Tuscan bread:

So bouncy and milky! I took the cheese and put it on the bread. I’m sure you could also just cut it with a fork!

We tried two pastas.

Spaghetti, clams, pancetta, olio Santa:

Amazing fresh pasta — it has such a different texture — great clams. A little too salty, though.

And lamb Bolognese with mint:

Rich, meaty, sweet and with a pick-me-up from the mint. Delicious.

There are so many other things on the menu I want to try: grilled pizette with clams, fresh garlic and thyme olive oil; creamy white polenta with smoked laid back lamb sausage, swiss chard and apricots; macaroni and cheese (known here as maccheroni e formaggi, rigontocini, fontina, parmigiano regano and pangrattato); pork alla plancha with cheese spatzle — and those are just the appetizers! That doesn’t take into account the cod with saffron, the chicken under a brick and the short ribs. I’ll have to go back!

Menu PDFs:

The Cookery Menu
(Sorry… this one is kind of a mess. It got dogeared in my purse and then I spilled something on it!)

Cookery Cocktails

Cookery Whites

Cookery Reds

The 411 on The Cookery.

Updates: My most recent visit to the Cookery is here.

Here’s a video on David DiBari and the Cookery:

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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