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“Has great potential, needs a little work” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Cooks' House

Cooks' House
115 Wellington St, Traverse City, MI 49686-2666
231-946-8700
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Ranked #12 of 227 Restaurants in Traverse City
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Has great potential, needs a little work”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2014

The Cooks' House has great potential, but needs some work. I wish Trip Advisor provided a rating for 'Good.' The Cooks' House is better than Average - absolutely - but not as good as 'Very Good.'

PROS:
1. Atmosphere is incredible. Residential-feeling, cozy and intimate.
2. Service is top-notch. There is a high staff-to-guest ratio meaning that you are never in a position to have to ask for something. Water glasses never run dry, clean silverware is always switched out after each course. With restaurants failing so much in this space, I can not give The Cooks' House enough credit for paying attention to this critical point of a dining experience.
3. Food quality is high. I had an issue with my dinner, which I'll note in the next section, but in general, you get what you pay for, and this place is the real deal.
4. Food style is inventive but authentic and familiar. They strike the right balance of creative, local, and comfort.
5. Tasting menus offer guests a unique dining experience, which is a definite competitive advantage for custom restaurants in the TC area.

CONS
1. Food QC: I ordered the NY strip, which I had noticed on other guests' plates, was a beautiful, slightly marbled cut of beef. My cut, however, was very grisly and heavily sinewed, which in my opinion, should have been rejected by the kitchen and never accepted much less served to a guest. Their offer was to re-do the steak for me, which would cost me 25 minutes and force my husband and I to eat our dinners in a sequence rather than together, or to re-serve my original dinner, enjoy what I could, and then take the dinner off the bill. I opted for the latter since my husband was already well into this plate, and I would haven eaten by myself had I had to wait 25 minutes for a re-do. That said, I have no idea why it would have taken 25 minutes to grill a steak, and when all was said and done, I had a dinner last night that I didn't enjoy.
2. Wine list is excellent for bottles, needs a lot of work in the glass offerings. Regional and varietal representation is lacking in the glass offerings, and when I couldn't find something, I resorted to ordering a bottle, which I was then told they didn't have. (Ouch, twice!)
3. Dining room got crazy-hot. There is no ventilation, and the heat and smoke from the kitchen infiltrates the dining room. It got uncomfortable at times throughout dinner.

SUM: I would totally give The Cooks' House a second chance. The experience I had with my particular dinner was a one-off unfortunate circumstance, but in general, this little restaurant has some serious culinary skill, and if you appreciate good food, you're going to get it, here.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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178 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Clare, MI
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
“A short review:”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

For those who don't know, this is pretty much a reservations kind of place. I'm not saying with certainty you cannot walk in, but chances are slim since it seats so few and has such a high reputation. That said, my wife and I were seated promptly upon arrival 5 min prior to our reservation time. We sat slightly too close to another group, close enough to how you'd sit with members of your own party. Since this was an anniversary dinner, it was too close.... but when in Rome...and we knew that going in, so it wasn't an issue for us- just a heads up for those new to the Cook's House.

The food was fabulous. As with many gourmet local-sourced restaurants, the combinations sounded strange on the menu but were wonderful in the mouth. The dimly-lit ambiance and a glass or two of wine (from the rather impressive wine list) made up for the tiny close quarters with the others. Our waiter brought us a bonus little hors d'oeurves on the house. I couldn't begin to tell you what it was called or what it was made of, but it was some sort of thick diplike spread with little bread sticks. It was great. Gourmet things can be surprising. And the fact that it was a little bonus "from the chef" as the waiter said, made it all the more of a quaint place and memorable time.

The bill was hefty, but again, I knew that going in. You get what you pay for and this place is top tier.
Budget restaurant? No. Don't expect to leave here after dinner for two with appetizer (hors d'oeuvres) a glass of wine or a cocktail a piece without dropping in the $200 range. But memorable and worth it for a fine night out? I'd say so!

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Definitely worth your time...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2014

I enjoyed the chef's 7 course tasting with wine pairings here last night. Every course was perfectly prepared and presented, especially the Lake Trout. The wine pairings were excellent, too. The seating here is very limited (particularly so in the winter) so call ahead to make your reservation now or you run the risk of missing out on this tiny gem!

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Northville, MI
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Another Great Dinner”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2013

We have been to the Cooks House in Traverse City several times. The food and the service has always been fantastic. The ingredients are always fresh and local. The wine list features many excellent local wines.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Brooklyn, New York
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
37 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Run, do not walk, it's amazing!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

If you can get in this restaurant for dinner, count your lucky stars. I visited with friends this past sumer and we could not get a dinner reservation for the entire month of August and into September. SO, we went in the afternoon for small plates and wow was it delicious. Some of the best food I have ever had in my life, and I am a very picky foodie. Suitable for vegetarians. Menu changes constantly. You will not be disappointed!

Visited August 2013
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