Jacksonville, FL 32246 I first visited Cooper’s Hawk in July of 2015, I was so offended by what I perceived to be Guerrilla tactics in an attempt to get us to sign up for the wine club. along with the constant sell through out the meal, and the food being nothing I have not sampled before. So I was in no hurry to return when another in the chain of wineries opened in Jacksonville in October. I passed on all the invites until this week when a close friend ask me to join her. She knew the story, had read my review but we decided, perhaps CH, had enough feedback and eased up on the sell. I am happy to announce, there was not one instance of any pressure to” join the club”. We were both asked it we had been here before, and were we familiar with the winery, one no, one yes, so perhaps our server took the yes as a well they know the drill that allowed us to enjoy our meal.
This particular building is almost a twin image of the Orlando store, upon entering, it is immediate wine and gift option overload, it’s everywhere. Waiters float through the crowd, passing out samples of wine, and handing out cards with info about the club, you can also step up to the ample bar to sample many other wines available through out the club. This is my favorite way to test the wares.
It is difficult to walk past this particular counter, we looked the other way.
Once you do make it back to the hostess stand, hopefully like us you will be greeted by a staff of friendly smiling faces, to take your name or seat you if reservations are in place. We were seated in an ample dining room, filled with booths, and large tables. This particular evening every table was full.
We selected some wine but the glass to start, my companion the house red, me the LUX Chardonnay. Neither if us were overwhelmed with the wine.
Menu is very ambitious, almost too much for me. I am a diner who relishes few choices but excellent execution and taste, to the many options but mediocre results. We started with the Roasted Beets with whipped goat cheese, arugula and candied walnuts with balsamic glaze and the Burrata and Prosciutto with EVOO and Lavash Crisp. One thing I do appreciate about the menu, each dish displays a wine that should compliment the food. I dearly love wine paring, just not when I am driving.
Sweet, firm sparse on the Goat cheese, glaze balanced well with the sweetness of the beets.
Buratta, is always welcome at my table, sadly stingy portions of Prosciutto was a disappointment.
I anticipation of our entrees arriving our server brought us the marvelous warm and salty pretzel bread, which we devoured quickly.
My companion chose, Gnocchi with Butternut Squash sage, brown butter cream, shaved Parmesan. To the credit of the chef and kitchen, the Gnocchi were excellent, every element of the dish was in true harmony. But,the squash on top was cold. These little missteps are what separates the great dinner experience from the mediocre.
I opted for the Short Rib Risotto, Carnaroli Rice, mushrooms, sweet onions, white wine, shaved Parmesan, white truffle oil. Over all I like this dish, the truffle oil added much to the taste. and the rice was cooked perfectly, the meat fork tender well flavored and smoky.
In conclusion, it was nice to not having to deal with the wine sale spiel, the food, some interesting dishes but I don’t know if I am convinced they will be well executed. It is likely I will return, if for not other reason than I know my besties enjoy this place, and I will put up with less than marvelous food to dine with my friends any day.
Give it a test, bring you family, loved ones, your pet, they have outside dining, call ahead and check though.