I live in a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA. Now when I say small, I mean 200 people in my graduating class and the inability to go out without running into someone that I know. So when a new restaurant pops up nearby, it’s pretty common knowledge and it’s only a matter of time before my curiosity gets the best of me forcing me to head over and see what it’s all about. This is how I discovered, Cooper House.
Cooper House officially opened in June, but due to it being summer, and me hearing a few mixed reviews I was a bit slower to jump on the bandwagon. Once the beer garden opened though, I knew I had to swing by and see what it was all about.
Located on Cooper River in Pennsauken, Cooper House is the new restaurant by Chef Tyler Turner who previously manned the kitchen at El Vez in Philadelphia. Now, I love El Vez, so I thought why wouldn’t I love Cooper House too!
Walking into Cooper House you are greeted with huge windows right from the front door. The atmosphere is modern and sleek with 2 outdoor areas, one for the restaurant and one for the beer garden. Due to the 90+ heatwave we’ve been experiencing, my boyfriend and I opted to eat inside right by the windows. It was about sunset so the glow off of the river was actually kind of beautiful.
We each started with a specialty cocktail, I had the 1884 and Steve got the Rower’s Delight. Mine was made with maker’s mark, simple syrup, lemon juice and malbec, overall it was just okay. Basically, I was drinking maker’s with a splash of red wine, odd but not awful. Steve’s had spiced rum, coconut rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and grenadine. After a good mix, it was good, but towards the end, the sweetness of the juice took over and became a bit too much. They certainly were pretty though.
Next up was soup. The soup of the day was a roasted red pepper and tomato bisque. I have to say this was my second favorite part of the meal. It came with a cheesy piece of toasted bread and made me dream of dunking a full of grilled cheese into my bowl. The flavors were good and I would definitely order it again.
That’s when the upswing started to get sad again. Our next round was the Seafood Mixto. It was a ceviche style crab, tuna and shrimp plate with avocado, onion, tortilla chips, chipotle and tequila. The fish was great, there was a bit too much onion for me, and we definitely could have used more chips. I’m not a huge spicy person, so I should have double checked about the chipotle part, but even so it was pretty good.
Next was the main course. We both got burgers. His was the Cooper burger, simple and easy. Mine was the Chipotle Bacon burger, this one I did ask about the heat in and was told that it wasn’t very spicy. Well it wasn’t spicy at all. The chipotle and bacon are actually in the form of a jam on the burger, which was cooked perfectly medium rare (my specifications), and complete with avocado, crispy onions and cheddar cheese. My only complaint was it had a slight burnt taste, which Steve also experienced with his. Unfortunately, we were really trying to find another good burger place because the one we really love it not close by, and this was not that place.
The fries however are a whole other story. This little crispy guys were phenomenal. Seriously some of the best fries I think I’ve ever had. They were fresh, crunchy and perfectly salted. Seriously, guys, these fries are incredible.
Since we were pretty stuffed after all of that food, we decided to pass on dessert and instead have after dinner drinks. I ordered a mudslide, and Steve got a junior mint. Neither were good. I think the bartender made them in the same shaker, and did the mint first. Both tasted minty and way too strong. And that’s say something because I make a pretty strong cocktail. When the server came back to check on us, we explained that they were just okay and she offered to have them removed from the tab. I told her how they both tasted minty and, well, just off. Our waitress said that they don’t get a lot of orders for the after dinner drinks and she wasn’t sure they were made right. Now for starters, even if they aren’t ordered often, your bartender should know the drinks on the menu and know how to make them. Plus, while I appreciate the servers honesty, if even she thinks they were made wrong, that’s telling you something. On a side note, they seem like a complete afterthought of the entire restaurant. Every other plate and drink was perfectly decorated except these which just seem thrown together. Anyway, here they are:
Needless to say we started mediocre and ended on a low which was a sad state all around. I will probably go back but only to try the beer garden and get fries, because really, these fries are spectacular and I can’t say enough about them. Cooper House hasn’t been open long, so hopefully they’ll start to find their rhythm but until then I’ll just stick to the beer.