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“Sophisticated surprise”
Review of Cooks' House

Cooks' House
Ranked #26 of 329 Restaurants in Traverse City
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Reviewed August 23, 2017

We had dinner at Cooks' House last week while on vacation. Each of the four of us ordered a different entree (fish, brisket, duck) and we all found our dish to be a delicate balance of interesting flavors and cooked to perfection. The menu is sophisticated and interesting and the service impeccable. Our favorite meal in Traverse City, which has many good restaurants. A reservation is a must - this place is small and popular.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
1  Thank Martha E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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27 - 31 of 276 reviews

Reviewed August 19, 2017

I visited Cooks' House on the recommendation of a friend, who suggested I try the tasting menu. That menu on that evening didn't really catch my eye, so I ordered a la carte. The food courses were a little uneven. My appetizer was gemelli pasta with rabbit. The pasta were perfectly al dente and the sauce was delicious. My walleye entree was not quite there, though. It was a little bland and slightly overdone. The tart I had for dessert, which had fresh fruit, was very...tart. The service was borderline over-attentive but very friendly and helpful.

A couple of other thoughts. First, the individual glasses of wine were overpriced. $15 for a glass of wine, the bottle of which you can buy in the store for $30, is a little outrageous even given typical restaurant mark ups. Also, when I left my clothes smelled like fish. I guess this can happen in a small venue.

1  Thank likeeat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 7, 2017 via mobile

We went here for a casual family dinner; me and my husband got the 5 course wine pairing and my two young kids got the chicken salad and the brisket. It was wonderful, the squash creme brûlée was great as was the whitefish. My kids liked their meals and their desserts. Overall we were satisfied.

2  Thank georgiates56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 1, 2017 via mobile

Unfortunately the meal didn't live up to the hype. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't a place I would send people or plan another meal. We were there on what might have been the hottest day of the summer (so far) and found out there's no air conditioning in the house. So sweated through the entire meal. The dishes seem a little pretentious with seemingly disparate ingredients put together for the novelty of it, but then again, I'm no chef. However, I'm no stranger to restaurants (or reviewing them) and this menu, hands down, had more unrecognizable ingredients than any I've *ever* come across, which was a surprise because the menu online looked delicious. As with a number of places that shop daily for their ingredients, the menu was different when we arrived, and to be clear, I have no problem with that. I just didn't like that it had so many recognizable ingredients online and so few on paper. I prefer not needing a chefs' manual for translating 3/4s of so many dishes. Keep it simple!

On to the actual food, it tasted fine but certainly not even the best I've had in Traverse City. The rest of the table agreed. My wife had the white bean red wine soup and was disappointed. Also said her whitefish was underwhelming. I had the gemelli pasta which was probably the best item. The brisket was hit or miss, some areas very tender and some very dry. Not enough juice to compensate.

Dessert was not worth it - billed as pudding cake, the chocolate was simply an average cake with a thin layer of pudding on top. Definitely not a "pudding cake" or "cake pudding." We also were told that most of the desserts were not available, but were offered the raspberry lemon tart without the raspberries, which kind of defeats the purpose.

Drinks were healthy, and the service was very good. Maybe we caught them on an off night for the food, but I wouldn't go back.

Thank Matt M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed July 31, 2017 via mobile

This was our third visit to Cooks' House in the past several years, and our best yet. First advice is it is worth splurging for the seven-course meal to truly appreciate the range of the menu. And it averages out to about $10 per course, which is a phenomenal deal.

As the wait staff explained, one of the executive chefs is classically trained in the French style, while the other is a bit more experimental with global flavorings... coriander, cumin, etc. The result is a deep complexity of flavor in each perfectly executed dish, without being too rich. It was truly one of the best meals I've had in the past two years, counting meals in San Francisco, New York, etc. I also love the appreciation of Midwestern ingredients, and how the chefs still turn out bright, complex dishes from basics such as root vegetables, cabbage, beef, and whitefish.

it is a small place and a small kitchen, and the food is prepared with great care, so you should take on the slow eating mentality and just relax, enjoy, and relish. If you want something quickly slapped together probably not the place for you.

We look forward to our next visit!

Thank BellaAnnArbor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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