Cocothe is a cafe and artisan eatery that seeks to please the eye and challenge the taste buds
Over the past few years, Sewickley has seen revitalization. New shops, boutiques and eateries have been popping up left and right.
A charming addition to Beaver Street is Cocothe Cafe and Artisan Eatery, serving brunch, lunch and dinner to hungry guests.
Cocothe looks like something out of a design catalog: clean, sleek lines with elements of metal and wood, a wall dedicated to glass jars filled with loose leaf teas that can be brewed hot or cold, and lots and lots of white. The piece de resistance is the iron-and-crystal chandelier that not only adds light, but character to the room.
Fresh flowers, clean, white plates and cloth napkins with romantic lace edges dot the handful of tables.
Not only is the space elegant, so is the food. Each dish is made with fresh ingredients, filled with color and beautifully presented. The white walls of the space let the colorful food radiate from the plates.
During dinner service, start off with the burrata: fresh cheese made with mozzarella and cream, purveyed from Penn Mac in the Strip District. It’s creamy, silky and served chunky in a bowl and sprinkled with black lava salt. Fried lemon chips accompany this dish.
Yes, fried lemon chips. I guess you can really deep-fry anything. Slices of tart lemon are coated in rice flour and deep-fried to a crisp golden brown. The fried, tart lemon chips are intense, but mellow out when topped with the creamy burrata. The exotic, yet comforting, flavor combination is a definite must. If you dislike the flavor of lemon, this dish won’t be for you. But if someone at your table orders it, I recommend that you give it a try. And if you like lemon as much as I do, it will become your new obsession.
Also on the starter portion of the menu is the scallion shortcake, which I wanted to like more than I did. A scallion shortcake is cut in half and topped with tangy, creamy whipped goat cheese and served with a baby heirloom tomato-and-peach relish. The savory tomato-and-sweet-peach relish was a nice addition when combined with the tart goat cheese, but I thought it could have used some kind of acidic vinaigrette.
Even though it’s warm outside, another starter worth trying is the carrot bisque, served in a cup or bowl, and topped with truffle oil, chives and popped popcorn. When eating it, the freshness is tasted immediately, and the popcorn is a fun extra that adds texture.
In addition to starters, a few sharable small plates are on the menu. Two diver scallops are cooked to perfection and served on a bed of cucumber noodles — cucumbers cut into the shapes of pasta — with sliced radishes and chunks of honeydew. It’s topped with a rich and creamy coriander beurre blanc sauce and tart grapefruit glaze. When I think of summer in a dish, this is it.
Other fresh, summer small plates include a watermelon-and-feta-stacked salad, tuna tartar and lobster spring rolls.
The wedge salad with grilled romaine, sweet red and golden beets, salty bacon crumbles, toasted pine nuts, and a drizzle of creamy buttermilk bleu cheese dressing. Thin slices of watermelon radish act as a garnish, but also add crunch and a beautiful color. This is the type of salad that you wish you had a few slices of bread to dip into the leftover dressing on the plate.
Entrees include steak, fish, chicken, pork and shrimp. Vegetarians will have to stick to a few of the small plates and sharable starters.
The steak dish, made with tender beef tenderloin, is served with a flavorful chimichurri sauce made with fresh herbs, thinly sliced frites and crunchy, yet tender, broccoli rabe. The steak was so tender and buttery, you could cut it with a butter knife, which I had to do, because no steak knife was given. Meat-and-potatoes fans will devour this dish in minutes.
If you want to be more adventurous, try the herb-stuffed shrimp served on a bed of black-bean puree with grilled Mexican street corn on the cob and crispy fried plantains.
Let me take a moment and talk about the black-bean puree, something I’ve never tried before and immediately have become addicted to. The puree had the consistency of mashed potatoes, but with more interest and a subtle kick of heat. Four pieces of shrimp, stuffed with an herb mixture with the shells and tails intact, were cooked to perfection.
The crispy fried plantains and grilled Mexican street corn were the perfect companions to this dish. The only thing that could have been added is crumbles of queso on the corn, an ingredient typically served with Mexican street corn.
Don’t skip dessert. The opera cake, made with layers of spongy almond cake, chocolate ganache and coffee buttercream is served cold and complements a brewed coffee, latte or cappuccino nicely.
Cocothe has opened up my taste buds to some new dishes I’m completely obsessed with now. I hope that when you dine here, it does the same for you. I’ll be back soon to try out brunch, and I hope to see you there!