Friday, June 3, 2011

CO-OP Food & Drink Now Open in Hotel on Rivington

The team that introduced New York City to the concept of pop-up dining has opened a venture intended for a much longer life expectancy.  Alan Philips and Jason Apfelbaum, of the Guerrilla Culinary Brigade, encourage you to “Feed your imagination.  Indulge your soul” at CO-OP Food and Drink inside The Hotel on Rivington, a modern American brasserie and sushi bar, which opened last week.  
The invited press multi-course tasting menu of food and drink pairings held Wednesday evening was filled with online editors and my favorite nightlife and food bloggers.  While admiring the space’s Lower East Side gritty glamorous vibe in the back dining room, we indulged in five courses, each paired with the perfect complimentary cocktail, sake, or glass of wine.  John Keller, of Nobu and Le Bernardin, serves as the Executive Chef, Stephen “Neo” Wong, a Sushi of Gari vet, handles the fresh fish, Master Mixologist Julio Torres, of Balthazar, Babbo, and the BLT group, designed the cocktail menu, while the list of all American wines are overseen by Wine Director Tara Carney and will rotate bi-monthly.  This all-star team truly delivers.
Portraits of New York City icons, including Patricia Field, Betsy Johnson, Patrick McMullan and Moby, to legendary Lower East Sider’s such as the owner of Katz Deli, cover the walls of the back dining room, as two black granite chandeliers descend from a glass ceiling opening to the stars above the city, exuding sultriness over an elongated communal table in the center.  This is the new place downtown to see and be seen.  While the next-big-thing is usually pretentiously obnoxious, the friendly staff accommodated our every need.  From diligent attentiveness of food allergies, to informative descriptions of the menu offerings, to the quick service for each course, the staff was impressive and lovely.
The Pink Bazooka (fresh watermelon, Grey Goose, a coconut water ice cube, and fresh basil) was the stand out cocktail of the night.  As the coconut water ice cube melts, the drink takes on a whole new exotic flavor.  Don’t miss out on this pretty pink poison.  As far as salads are concerned, kale has been celebrated by everyone from nutritionists to Whole Foods Market as a top source for vitamins.  The Kale Ceasar (Tuscan and purple kale with Asian pear) takes the antioxidant rich greenery and adds the well-known unhealthy Caesar salad dressing to create a delicious compromise on health and flavor.  Kan Nihonkai Ultra Dry Sake (known as one of the driest sakes in the world) was served alongside the sushi course.  CO-OP Roll (a spicy tuna roll topped with rock shrimp tempura and a slice of jalapeno) was a decadent crowd pleaser.  Each piece of sushi and sashimi are right-off-the-boat fresh with an ingredient twist away from the standard sushi offerings.  The eel is rich, the tuna has a spike of citrus, and the salmon with roasted tomato and shallot melts on the tip of your tongue.  As a seafood lover, the Black Cod Butter Lettuce Cups (Black Cod, sweet miso, shredded filo, wrapped in butter lettuce) are to die for.  The miso glaze perfectly sweetens the fish.  The CO-OP Chicken Lollipops, smothered in a finger-licking creamy sriracha sauce, are served bone-in and ready to share with your crew.  The Rivington Steak Frites (Dry aged NY strip, bone marrow butter, CO-OP fries) are the carnivore’s wet dream.  The steak is cooked to a tender medium rare, falling apart at the touch of a knife.  The fries with a salty cheese flavor were some of the best I’ve had in years.  Uni Risotto (with foie gras foam) is rich, creamy, and quickly filling.  Each course is priced and arranged to share with your dinner companions for an interactive and social experience.

Visit CO-OP Food & Drink for a sexy date night with your newest fling or with your best girlfriends to enjoy shared plates and imbibe some of the city’s best cocktails in the newest LES hotspot.
CO-OP Food & Drink.  107 Rivington Street.

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