The first weekend of college football had arrived. With that in mind, I decided to wander down to Cook Tavern to eat brunch and watch the big screen.
Cook Tavern is located on Main Street in Saint Helena, next to its sister restaurant Cook Saint Helena. Cook Tavern has been open almost 2 years and is a haven for locals and visitors alike. The ambiance is a cozy, rustic gastropub with modern flair. The original stone wall lends itself to history, while the contemporary upgrades make it a hip hang out. The tavern has 6 large televisions spread out for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Besides having a great happy hour, Cook Tavern is one of the few Saint Helena eateries that serve brunch, running on the weekends from 10am-2pm.
On the menu is a variety of signature cocktails including three house made bloody marys – The Tavern, Cool and Sicilian. A popular choice is the ‘Beaker of Bubbles’, a 1000ml beaker filled with sparkling wine and freshly made orange juice. I started off with my usual, the grapefruit mimosa.
There are quite a few specials on the menu including the 2 egg scramble, which changes often. Today’s specials were, 1) steak and eggs with a southern style hash and 2) french toast with a side of peach chutney. I opted for the scramble of the day, which included mushrooms, tomato, fresh basil topped with gruyere cheese and garnished with a toasted sourdough wedge. I also added the house made sausage which is some of my favorite in Napa Valley. If they have sausage available on the menu, I highly recommend it.
The scramble was delicious. I loved the fresh basil coupled with the creamy gruyere. The mushrooms were flavorful, the red and yellow tomatoes gave the dish a nice contrast and the sausage was excellent, as always.
To finish off my brunch, I tried one of Cook Tavern’s signature bloody marys. I went for the Cool Bloody Mary which consisted of a home made infused jalepeno and cucumber vodka and house bloody mary mix, topped with a pickle olive skewer and lemon wedge.
My cocktail had an almost sweet pickle tang with spicy undertones from the horseradish and hot sauce. There was definitely a jalepeno flavor, but since only the skins are used and no seeds, I did not feel an overwhelming heat. Infusing cucumbers in the vodka as well gave it a general coolness so that it wasn’t too spicy. Cook Tavern goes above and beyond to serve you unique handcrafted cocktails that you wouldn’t find in most places.
There are many other menu items that are worth mentioning. Some of my favorites are – The Cubano Sandwich, Duck Confit Tacos and Chilaquiles with an organic fried egg. The service is quick and the staff is very friendly. If you dine at the bar, you will often meet locals, many of them regulars. If you are looking for an upscale gastropub experience in Saint Helena, check out Cook Tavern.
Enjoy… Wine Ho