Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cooper's Craft & Kitchen Elevates Pub Grub

Signature fish 'n' chips shines

One of the most misused food buzz words these days is gastropub.

A mostly American craft selection
The term was born in the UK in the early 90s when quirky London pub The Eagle started serving high quality food with its craft brews. Nothing pretentious, just decently priced, well sourced fare; dishes detailed on blackboards instead of menus. The trend flourished and naturally found its way to our shores. Unfortunately, the concept frequently got lost in the translation as any ol' restaurant was suddenly claiming the title.

One East Village newcomer that actually is a gastropub is Cooper's Craft & Kitchen. Craft beers galore? Check. Tasty comfort food? Check. Chilled, local vibe? Check.

Restaurateur Tom O'Byrne (Dempsey's, Slainte) transformed the out-of-place former Kurve into a welcoming neighborhood corner. Reclaimed wood interiors were once a Pittsburgh barn. Check out the original farm doors along the back wall while scanning the blackboard beer selection. The focus is on rotating American, even local, craft brews, with 24 on tap and 40 bottle options. 

Classic chargrilled steak
Beer also makes an appearance in dishes including the signature fish 'n' chips ($14). It's a stand out. Two meaty hunks of fresh Chatham, MA, cod burst through a crispy IPA-battered golden coating. The pulled pork sandwich ($13), satisfyingly sweet and spicy, is marinated in Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.

Even the Cooper burger ($14) is topped with a beer tempura onion ring, but also comes with a half dozen other toppings which don't entirely mesh. I am hearing good things about the Drunken Drumsticks ($9), deep fried in breadcrumbs and coated in lemon and thyme.

Craft beer lovers take note: starting next week, Cooper's will offer 5 different brews for 5 bucks a pop, Monday-Friday, 4-7pm. Cheers.

87 2nd Ave at 5th St
646 606 2384
Cooper's Craft & Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bite into Sausage, Inc.

Lamb and pistachio sausage

Here's a great little Cheap Eat in honor of Tax Day.

Tucked under a Greenwich Village block of scaffolding is a little sausage shop with big flavor. Somehow six month old Sausage, Inc. fell under the media radar despite the customer raves. Time to change that.

A small variety of artisan sausages - including a meatless option - are ground fresh daily and served grilled on a pretzel bun and sauteed onions. A hefty mouthful for $5.51.

A tiny sandwich shop with big taste
The most popular is the classic pork and basil filled Blanco. The Farmer blends beef and bacon into meaty goodness. The Thanksgiving, packed with turkey, stuffing and cranberries, is basically a holiday on a bun. Watch out for daily specials including the juicy lamb and pistachio. It gets better. There's a row of homemade sauces for experimentation. Any place with homemade condiments gets high marks from me. Go crazy.

I wish the artisan sausage culture were bigger here. The humble food is often maligned in our country for mystery additives. Sausage, Inc. uses prime cuts of meat with no chemicals or MSG. My vote for additions to the menu: the English banger, Moroccan merguez and Spanish chorizo for starters.

106 University Place (between 12th + 13th Sts.)
212 414 4344
11 am - 2 am daily