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“Atrocious experience... GM should be fired” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cook

Cook
Ranked #12 of 49 Restaurants in St. Helena
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $16 - $25
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Families with children, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Full Bar, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Atrocious experience... GM should be fired”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2013

I had been to Cook before with my brother in October and had a lovely dinner (we brought our own wine). My brother and I wanted to take our parents back to Cook when we were there with them on a family trip this weekend. What a mistake!! We had to wait 30 minutes to be seated (even though we had a 7:30 reservation that I made months ago). We ordered some calamari and mozzarella as appetizers, both of which were unimpressive and bland. My father, who has been collecting wine for 35 years and knows just as much as any winemaker, ordered a bottle of merlot and sent it back because it had gone through secondary fermentation. He then ordered another wine that was corked and sent it back again. The manager came over and asked what the problem was, and my dad calmly told him that both the wines were compromised. The manager rudely told him that there was nothing wrong with the Merlot, and then he asked us to leave. SERIOUSLY? First of all, the customer is always right. Second of all, what kind of manager can't recognize damaged wine? And thirdly, your response is to kick out your customers instead of offer them another wine or some better service??? I'm sorry, but this is St. Helena, not New York City or Chicago. You should have the time to take care of your customers. Fortunately we went down the street to French Blue where the service and food is much better. Cook has rude service, bland food, and an unimpressive atmosphere. Never again.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
3 Thank Kelsey M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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349 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    213
    93
    26
    12
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Wilton, Connecticut
Level Contributor
23 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“High St Helena dining with a little less pretense”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2013

Cook is a local favorite, and will surely please the St. Helena visitor. It makes a contrary statement to the often- precious St. Helena dining scene, with sophisticated food combinations that are presented in a straightforward style.

The mussels with sausage appetizer was delicious, and organic greens over red beet salad had a great flavor balance. Our table enjoyed the tagiatelle amatriciana and braised lab shank, but the gnocchi were a bit flat. Desserts were solid, but not quite up to the standards set by the rest of the meal.

The space is an attractively renovated storefront in the center of Main Street, with a long bar where many dine. Wait staff is professional, but was slightly overwhelmed by a large (and loud) party which slowed service for the rest of the house.

There's an extensive wine list of both California wines and further finds, which is fun for comparing how the locals are faring. Others bring their own for pouring with a corkage fee.

We look forward to another experience there soon.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank R S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Davis, CA
Level Contributor
88 reviews
55 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Up and then down”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2013

My wife an I went to Cook on Newyear's Eve for a special anniversary dinner. The menu featured five courses centered around truffles, and I do not mean candy. It was marvelous from top to bottom. This week we returned for a lunch. I had a BLT where the bacon was so overcooked that it could cut the roof of you mouth. The foccacia on which it was served was too toasted as well and hard to eat. The French fries we cold, but the replacement order was fine, although not up to those of Meadowwood (q.v,) OK, I admit it: ordering a BLT in January with a tasteless tomato is not too bright. My wife's swordfish was OK, she said, but nothing more. There is a strong local client base, so perhaps we just caught them at a bad time. It is a small kitchen, and things can perhaps go wrong at times. In addition to the small kitchen, the back tables are so close together that we got the full brunt of the loud conversation between some idiot and his friend about whether he should break up with his girlfriend in person or by texting her. Ugh! All that said, the truffle dinner was so good that I will go back.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
Thank Davisdude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Northern Italian in St. Helena”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 27, 2012

We went to Cook on suggestion from one of the local vineyards for an early dinner. It's billed as northern Italian, specializing in local ingredients, located in one of the old building in downtown St. Helena. The atmosphere is very cozy with an open kitchen, so the space is filled with the aroma of food.

My wife and her mother are from Italy and from a family of restauranteurs, so they are always very critical with Italian food.

We were able to get a table at 5pm, right when they opened (it's small, probably only seats 20-30 people, so best to make reservations).

There were 3 of us dining (plus our 18 month old daughter) -- for starters, we had the fresh mozzarella, and the white bean soup. Both were really flavorful and fresh, but the soup was some of the best I've had.

We ordered 3 entrees for the table: The grilled ono (flaky white fish)--served over fresh local vegetables. It was cooked perfectly with a nice crust on top, but not overdone.

The roasted chicken was served over gnocchi with mushrooms and onions. Very flavorful and juicy.

Lastly, the osso bucco, which was served over risotto. The juices blended perfectly with the risotto and was very rich -- a nice complement to the lighter fish and chicken dishes.

Overall, the atmosphere, service and food were outstanding. There are some great restaurant options in Napa/St. Helena, and we will add this to our list. Check it out.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank JasonWinkler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
scottsdale
Level Contributor
225 reviews
159 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“#1 restuarant in north Napa Valley”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 13, 2012

Two winery owners each recommended Cook as their favorit restauarant in St. Helena. They were spot on.
We had the best caesar salad we have ever had, and that's saying a lot since we travel all across the U.S. and Europe. I had a side of anchovies imported from Portugal and they were the sweetest and most flavorful anchovies I have ever had.
We each had roasted Ono for our entre' and it was cooked to perfection with a sauce reduction that was almost as good as the Ono. The sides were phenomenal as well---the vegetables prepared perfectly.
Dessert was a flourerless chocolate cake. Not sure where the flour went, but it will never be missed. My wife loves chocolate and what a pleasant surprise and perfect ending to our evening at Cook to have such a great "flourless" dessert.

Don't take our word for it, talk to the winery owners in the area as well. They will all point you to their favorite Cook.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank azpoet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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