The Cook’s Shop
By Lisa M.
On May 31, 2012 I found myself heading downtown Windsor for the inaugural meeting of Windsor Girls Growl™ at The Cook’s Shop, 683 Ouellette Avenue.
Nestled behind a little oasis of greenness, as you approach The Cook’s Shop through a wrought iron fence and head down the stairs to the front door beneath hanging baskets of flowers, I suddenly felt transported to a small town in the Italian countryside (not that I’ve ever been to Italy, but the restaurant’s street scape is what I imagine an Italian trattoria is like).
Opening the door to the restaurant, I was immediately enveloped by the scent of garlic as I stepped into the dim, candlelit interior. Finding our group’s table was not difficult, as we were front and centre in the restaurant.
The Cook’s Shop is more of an intimate dining experience than one for large groups, as small tables are nestled in every nook and cranny beneath low ceilings, romantically lit by votive candles. A number of couples were sitting throughout the restaurant and the feeling of intimacy and privacy was paramount. This would be the perfect restaurant for a first date or special outing with a loved one.
Our first choice of restaurant is a favourite of fellow Growler, Lisa L., who guided us through the menu, pointing out the dishes she liked best. I chose to order the Linguine & Clam Sauce with a side of shrimp skewers, one of the dishes Lisa L. rated as tasty.
Our meal started with a gigantic bowl of romaine lettuce leaves and Caesar dressing placed in the centre of our table. It was a little daunting to dish up and eat whole leaves of romaine lettuce. I personally would have preferred the salad to come in bite-size pieces, but the dressing was divine.
The linguine and clam sauce, unfortunately, did not continue the promise started by the tasty salad dressing. The dish was overly oily and lacking somewhat in flavour, but the shrimp were cooked to perfection. Lisa L. did note that she normally dines at The Cook’s Shop on the weekends, and this being her first weekday meal, was surprised at the oiliness of everyone’s food in general, as it was unusual fare compared to her previous and numerous dining experiences there, so perhaps we had a different cook that night.
Dinner was capped off with a delicious assortment of desserts that left our table of ladies oohing and aahing, but not so much as the coffee and its price! Coffee prices at The Cook’s Shop have not changed since the 1980s and today you can still get a cup of fresh brewed coffee for $0.50 and a cappuccino for $0.75. Now that’s some value!
|Lisa M.‘s Overall Rating|
|Overall it was a great kick off for our monthly Growls, dinners that continue to see our friendship grow and blossom!|
Comments from fellow Growlers
Sylvia V. said: “…the cappuccino was unbelievable, especially at 75 cents a cup. I would go back to the restaurant based solely on that. I tasted Lisa L.‘s scaloppini and would like to go back to order that whole lemony garlicy mushroomy treat. I liked that you could split an order of pasta with someone as an appetizer and then have meat for your main. The giant, home style Caesar salad for the entire table (included with the meal) was a delicious start and set the togetherness tone for the evening. My lamb chops were somewhat bland and oily, in fact everything was on the oily side, but served at a perfect temperature. I loved the intimate ambiance. I liked the pace of service which gave us time to digest and have conversation between courses. Our charming server was frantically busy by the end of our meal but still made time to split our bill into 7 separate cheques for us.”
Laurel R. said: “My gnocchi was fabulous – I wouldn’t change a thing! Loved the family-style serving of bread and salad – yummy, and I agree that it helped to set the tone. I broke from the tiramisu pack and had limoncello cheesecake for dessert, which was divine, and the cappuccino was yum. LOVED the coffee menu – the fact that they’ve kept the prices the same since, what, 1980? is delightful. I would return to The Cook’s Shop in a heartbeat – I can definitely see why it’s Lisa L.‘s favourite!”
Lisa L. said: “Last night’s adventure to The Cook’s Shop rates 5 paws for me in the areas of atmosphere, company, service (aside from the wait for the bill), and overall experience. I have to agree with Sylvia V. on her evaluation of the food. Although my scaloppini was very tasty it was somewhat oily. The food last night was not consistent with the high quality I usually enjoy on my many visits there. The linguini with clams was spot on, but I was very slightly disappointed with the scaloppini. I would normally give food there a rating of 5 without hesitation, but last night gets a rating of 4 for food from me, mainly for the lack of consistency of the entree.”
Julie B. said: “I loved all the added touches from the antique warmer for our coffee, chilled bowls for the salad and of course the heavy duty kitchen towels to wipe off all that yummy sauce from our lips.”
Micky G. said: “I loved my tortellini. The salad was delish! I liked the low ceiling, the intimacy, the Euro ambiance I guess you’d call it. I really don’t have any criticism – maybe more bread!”
Have YOU visited The Cook’s Shop?
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