Cooks and Soldiers went on our Atlanta bucket list the moment Jonathan and I saw it pop up in Westside Atlanta. For the amount of times we talked about checking it out, we never anticipated that our visit there would be spontaneous. However, late on a Thursday night, we showed up cradling our stomachs from hunger after wrapping up a recruiting event at SCAD Atlanta.
Inspired by basque cuisine, Cooks and Soldiers' menu is mostly dominated by small plates, pinchos. This tapas-style way of eating is much preferred by us as we love trying a multitude of different dishes. With our trusty server Joe at our disposal, we were able to curate a lineup that allowed us try varying tastes across the menu. As the menu does change, we wanted to make sure we tried both classics and new dishes.
We started off the evening with a few cocktails and two bread plates from the Tradicionales list, the Hongos y Setas and the Trucha Ahumado. I loved the Hongos y Setas plate, which was two pieces of toasted bread covered in roasted mushrooms and black truffles. Surprisingly, my fish-hating husband preferred the Trucha Ahumado which was essentially smoked trout topped with roe, potato, corn, and celery. Between the two, the Hongos y Setas had an earthier taste while the Tucha Ahumado was light and fresh. Both were excellent introductions to start off our meal.
The Especiales part of the menu consisted of 14 small plates, but we only tried four of them. My two favorites were the Bikini and the Veal Cheek. Jonathan describes the Bikini as "what the grilled cheese dreams of leveling up to." The Bikini looks like your average grilled cheese, but it is actually perfectly toasted bread held together by melted White American, Jamon Iberico, and black truffle. The braised veal cheek reminded us a little of a deconstructed shepherd's pie with the potato mash and the pea puree. Honestly, this is the one plate I was reluctant to share. Dark and savory, the veal melted in your mouth with each bite coated in mash and peas.
For dessert, we ordered the lemon goat-cheese cheesecake. The plate was stunningly beautiful and garnished with flower petals and peaches. Light and acidic, it was the perfect summery finish to our late night meal.
Cooks and Soldiers is most definitely a local eatery we would recommend to all of our friends. It's not just the hunger speaking! Each dish is incredibly flavorful and well-portioned, and we can not wait to see how their menu evolves over time.
Have you been to Cooks & Soldiers or tried basque cuisine before? How were your experiences? Let me know in the comments!