Two nights ago I had the pleasure of dining at Fatta Cuckoo with my good friends Sarah, James and Spiegs. In the interest of full disclosure we were invited to a tasting by the owner Leah Tinari and Chef Chris Mitchell but you all know that if I don’t love it…I don’t write about it! Smack dab in the middle of bustling Clinton Street, Fatta Cuckoo is a stand out!
The restaurants name, “Fatta Cuckoo,” was inspired by a phrase the owners Grandma used to say after a meal! They call it a small American menu but Chef Chris’s culinary influences come from far and wide. Even with a full restaurant, Chef Chris excitedly told us about every course and detail. So friendly and warm, he was genuinely happy to speak with us and gave us his undivided attention at every turn. And if there is one thing I am confident in saying… it is that in this industry a nice Chef is hard to find!
The vibe of this place is undeniably enthralling. Yes its small and tight but the crowd is good-looking and the place has energy that pulsates throughout every person, plate and glass. The experience is so intimate and even with the tight space, it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
But the food…. knowing that I had 9 courses ahead of me was a little intimidating but I went for it! We had small little bites but after seeing every plate pass by the kitchen I know you will be full after eating here. Chef Chris, a disciple of the April Bloomfield kitchen, buys local from Essex Street and Union Square and puts a premium on forging relationships with his vendors and fellow neighbors which I respect and admire!
The food isn’t fussy… and damn is it good. It’s simple and straightforward, cooked from the heart and cooked to absolute perfection. We had a ton of food, and each dish was better than the last. Trying to isolate my favorite dish was nearly impossible as the fritters we started with were unbelievable and then the dessert platter we finished our meal with (made by Leah’s mom) was outstanding! How is that pistachio lemon cake not in every single coffee shop in the city… it’s so much better than the olive oil cakes you see in every display case!
With food this good the drinks gotta complement and not overwhelm the food. Well the cocktails, made by Christian, are unreal. He has created nearly a dozen different specialty cocktails and each are their own little spirit masterpiece. With 9 courses I was scared we would walk out sloshed with 9 different cocktails in us but Christian started us off slow with wine then gradually moved us to four other drinks…his signature fatta gimlet, barnstormer, orchard and housemade egg nog. I walked out full and happy thanks to both the food and drink pairings. I could go into every single inch of each dish we ate but a) you don’t have all day to read my gibberish and salivate over food porn and b) you just gotta trust me on this one… PLEASE!
Daily specials pop up here and there, Chef Chris changes the menu seasonally and we didn’t try the whole menu but hot damn… Fatta Cuckoo’s food is sinfully, spectacularly, ridiculously delightful. Take a peep at the food porn here….
Sweet Potato Fritters with Chili Lime Aioli
Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblano Crema and Crispy Tortillas
Burrata over Roasted Tomato Sauce with Fried Egg and Chili Oil
Handmade Lobster Ravioli with Marechiaro Sauce with Lemon Zest, Chive and Olave
PEI Mussels in Thai Chili Tomato Broth with Cilantro and Toasted Baguette with Housemade Coconut Chili Butter
3 Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin over Sweet Potato Mash with Smokey Chili Sauce
Butternut Squash Risotto with Crispy Sage and Butternut Seed Oil
Braised Short Ribs over Sweet Potatoes
Dessert Sampler: Coconut Custard Pie, Pistachio Lemon Cake, Key Lime Pie, Homemade Tortoni, Cheesecake, and Homemade Egg Nog
You may not get to know the people of Fatta Cuckoo like we did, but I guarantee that you will be treated like one of their own when you enter. Fatta Cuckoo is worth every penny, and you better dine here before everyone else discovers it!!! Run…Don’t Walk to Fatta Cuckoo!
63 Clinton Street (between Rivington and Stanton Streets)