Opened in 2009 by Culinary Institute of America-trained David DiBari, The Cookery is known for skilled and thoughtfully outlandish artisan cuisine served at judicious prices. Sure, the place is loud, the plating (and plates, for that matter) unassuming, and the décor slight (exposed brick and some hanging ductwork is as dramatic as it gets), but the cuisine is masterful and (primarily) inspired by pork-happy Northern Italy. So we can’t feature The Cookery without mentioning its Swine Dinner, the epitome of the restaurant’s playful ethos of gastronomic perversion and barbarism. Groups of six to eight diners can preorder (five days in advance) a roasted suckling pig, which is quite the showstopper.
The full bar is simple and lit with vintage bulbs, a stark contrast to the painted pig mural splashed across the white dining-room wall. Metal cooking pots and utensils dangle above large, naked wood tables flanked by retro seating in vivid red, black, and wood. And there’s that oh-so-hot subway tile, too.
The menu changes seasonally (most meat, fish, and produce is purchased from Hudson Valley purveyors), but think goose-fat potatoes (butter and salt heaven!);
crostini with house-made ricotta plus honey and thyme; lasagna with butternut squash, ricotta, fontina, and
pumpkin-seed oil; cauliflower ravioli in a lemon brown-butter sauce; and fried pig tails with a maple glaze and sage. All sorts of cuisines fuse for the pork dumplings with spaetzle, chili honey, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. DiBari ramps up his rigatoni with bone marrow, caramelized onions, and Madeira wine sauce.
The kitchen has carnival-like fun with desserts, concocting curiosities including “Stickabutta” pie with an almond crust and a popcorn trifle with house-made caramel corn.
The wine list, like the rest of the place, is pretense-free; no sommelier or $200 bottles of Barolo. Instead, the 30 or so bottles offered are mostly in the $30 to $40 range and all available by the glass.
39 Chestnut St, Dobbs Ferry (914) 305-2336