HVRW: Diana Costello on The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry

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Even though I had heard nothing but amazing things about The Cookery, I still was completely overwhelmed by the depth of flavors and unexpected notes in chef David DiBari’s dishes. From start to finish, the meal was comforting in its familiarity and yet enticing in its subtle twists on Italian classics.

meatballs

Joining me for this meal last night was my mother — who was raised by Italian immigrants and knows a thing or two about Italian cuisine. (She loved the meal just as much as I did!) She started the night with two beautiful meatballs, served with a light tomato sauce and infused with plenty of parmigiano. These were the softest meatballs either of us had ever tasted.

soup

I realized we were in for something special after the first bite of my appetizer — which caught me completely off guard. After all, I’ve eaten countless bowls of escarole and bean soup in my day. Yet just one spoonful of this hearty opener literally made me throw my eye-glasses to the table and exclaim: “Oh. My. God!” (Admittedly I tend to overreact from time to time, especially with food. But this was fully justified, I promise!)

The depth of flavor in this broth — which was thanks to the surprising bits of of braised pork mingling amongst tender beans and vegetables — was nothing short of perfect. Remember that scene in Pixar’s Ratatouille when the food critic is instantly transported to memories of his childhood after taking his first bite towards the end of the movie? Well, that’s sort of how I felt.

egg

Our third appetizer was not on the HVRW menu, but you can find it on the regular dinner menu and I highly recommend that you give it a try. It was a little budino of cauliflower, which explodes in your mouth with its golden, roasted flavors, and is topped with a fried egg and tiny crumbles of pancetta fried in brown butter.

pasta

For my main course, I chose the radiatore (which are little pastas that look like radiators) with lamb bolognese. This is an excellent choice of pasta for a bolognese, since there are plenty of little crevices for the sauce to sneak into. The flavor of the lamb was such a nice departure from that of the more common beef, but what set this dish apart was the fresh mint infused throughout the dish. Lamb and mint make such a great pair.

shank

My mother’s main course was the pork ossobucco. The pork shank had been braised perfectly, so tender that the meat literally melted right off the bone. Fried just before hitting the plate, the pork was topped with a delightful apple/mustard sauce and served over super creamy polenta. The chef drizzled a deglazed grape sauce to finish the dish.

myd

Stuffed much? Yes. But there’s always room for dessert, right? I had one of my favorites — bread pudding. Served warm, this bread pudding was nice and sweet thanks to a generous amount of white chocolate and an anglaise that tasted as though it had also been lightly caramalized on top. Dense, moist, delish.

momd

My mother had the pasta fritta, which essentially were fried ravioli filled with nutella and bananas. These were served with a cinnamon gelato.

Next time I go back (which hopefully is soon!) I must get this mozzarella, which is made daily:

mottz

Here’s the crostino of fresh ricotta, truffle honey and thyme:

ricot

The hanger steak with escarole and goose fat potatoes looked and smelled absolutely to die for:

steak

Thanks to David and all the great cooks in the kitchen!

chef

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About Author

When Diana Costello was little, she got in trouble for listening to Led Zeppelin during religious instruction and hasn't stopped jamming since. She now spends way too much money on concerts and wonders how she ever survived without an iPod.

9 Comments

  1. excellent review! i am salivating at my desk as i attempt to figure out how i can make any of these at home tonight…

    the radiatore looks and sounds amazing. that is without a doubt what i would have ordered.

    regarding the osso bucco… do you think the grape demiglace was actually a drizzle of grapeseed oil?

  2. Eric, you see that dark goodness dripping under the shank on the polenta? That’s the deglazed grape juice, I believe. I did not eat too much of that dish (I had my own plate to work through!) so I’m not sure if that oil drizzled around the dish is olive oil or grapeseed.

    I should note — the radiatore were homemade in the restaurant. SO GOOD!

  3. Holy hannah. I love The Cookery. I was just there last week (look for my post, soon!) and I want to go back already. Thanks for the great review, Diana.

  4. OMG-what a fabulous review of this yummy restaurant. We were just there for lunch this week and it was amazing. The food was terrific and the service from Gigi…outstanding. I have been wanting to try The Cookery for quite some time and sure glad I did. So innovative and great from first to last bite. I am glad I had the bean soup too or I would be banging down the door right now…it was just as you described…definitely glasses throwdown worthy!!! Thanks for an outstanding blog on this small gem.

  5. The Cookery is our favorite restaurant. The only problem is they have become so popular, that you must arrive by 5:30 if you want a table! My husband & I have even eaten at the bar it’s always sooo good.

  6. YOUR ARTICLE MADE ME FEEL HUNGRY AND AT THE SAME TIME I FELT LIKE I ENJOYED EVERY DISH YOU AND YOUR MOM HAD. THANKS FOR THE EXPERIENCE WITHOUT THE CALORIES. WE WILL DEFINITELY CHECK IT OUT FOR OURSELVES VERY SOON. THANKS SO MUCH.
    ROSEANN

  7. Went last night, food was good, although I was disappointed that the restaurant week menu had changed! I’m assuming they had run out of items which is at least a good sign that it was probably all fresh! Wasn’t expecting it to be such a loud place, I felt like I had to yell across my tiny table of 3 people just to be heard! I’m hoping they just threw in some extra tables for restaurant week and it’s not always that cramped/crowded/noisy. Service was friendly and food was brought out in a timely manner, we never felt rushed. The fresh mozzarella was delicious, however the meatballs were nothing special, sure they were soft, but it doesn’t mean they were good! Chicken was very juicy and the flavorful fregola served with it was nice, and dessert was decent, but I went hoping to get the pasta fritta and it had been taken off the menu!! Overall a good meal, planning to go back to try what had been taken off the menu! (ravioli, osso buco, radiatore etc)

  8. Hey Gina. I agree with you about the meatballs. Too bad you couldn’t try some of the other great dishes — especially the bean soup and the radiatore. I want to go back for that mozzeralla. It looked amazing.

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