A few weeks ago, I posted a message looking for alternate suggestions for X-mas eve dinner. We made reservations at Cookshop before checking here (silly us) and found many negative (and a few mixed) reviews. In the end, laziness and indecision kicked in, so we kept our reservation. Although we went in slightly suspicious, our meal was truly excellent.
We started with a roasted squash soup garnished with sage pesto and housemade andouille sausage and Florida shrimp served with grits. Both were excellent flavorful and complex. For dinner, we did a bit of mix and match, as to try multiple things. We had a roasted beet salad with tahini (truly delicious), a mini Sloppy Joe with crisp onion rings (fun - really, really fun and tasty), and an out-of-this-world roasted Porgy. The fish, stuffed with lemon and handfuls of fresh herbs, was served very simply with a roasted half lemon and a side of spicy fries (good, but not necessary. Some roasted root vegetables might have been a better way to go.). It was truly memorable. For dessert, we had a piece of chocolate cake (dark, rich, and playful) with a scoop of homemade peppermint stick ice cream. It was a great end to a fantastic meal. The wine list had several $30 and $40 selections, and we overheard our waitress make some great suggestions to the table next to us.
Our only complaint, although it didnt apply to us, was that there was only one vegetarian option (a mixed mushroom lasagna). Most all of the starters involved meat/fish too, which would leave a veggie with the choice of 2 salads and one entrée.
For something similar in price, portion, and creativity, I would compare it to Salt, which has never ever let me down. I prefer the cozy atmosphere of a place like Salt, although the noise-level can be problematic.