Opened in 2016, Le Coq Rico is the outpost in New York City of the restaurant of the same name in Paris from acclaimed Chef Antoine Westermann. Originally from Alsace in the east of France, Chef Westermann maintained a 3 Michelin Star rating in his restaurant Le Buerehiesel for 31 years until asking the Michelin Guide to remove them, a quite incredible move for a Chef. The name Le Coq Rico is a play on cocorico, the French version of Cock-a-doodle-doo (yes, roosters speak French too!) and is, in the US, a tribute to American farmers and local terroir. In fact, Chef Westermann spent a year before opening the restaurant, traveling in North America, focusing on the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania, to discover local farmers and understand their philosophy on raising poultry. At Le Coq Rico, it is all about birds, but birds raised responsibly: cage free and hormone free. But if you are vegetarian, it should not be a problem: they have a few dishes and could even accommodate beyond the menu (they proposed to create a plate made with various sides like the famous ratatouille, but Jodi declined).
One thing I recommend if you go there and are not more than two people: sit by the counter so you can watch the kitchen staff preparing the amazing food they serve there. It is mesmerizing and...mouth watering! Enough talking: here is what we had.
I started with their signature old fashioned, made with cognac, rye, rosemary syrup, maple syrup. Well balanced, the sweetness of the maple syrup counteracted well the alcohol content.
I then proceeded to get their giblets platter that was composed of duck liver, apple and heart brochette, glazed wings, roasted chicken liver on horseradish toast, spiced croquettes. This was a terrific sampler and I loved each and every bit of it. I really like the fact that they propose this because that way you can get a taste of these offal that are rarely on menus besides chicken liver and wings. They should probably get these glazed wings as an appetizer on its own: they were delicious.
I then continued with the Northfolk quail that, for $48, is not cheap but worth it. This small bird is from the Feisty Acres Farm in Southold, NY and raised for 70 days that is much longer than usual (I believe 50 days max. ). Quail are tough to cook because you just need to cook them few seconds more to get a dry meat. But they surely know how to cook it: the dark meat was moist and very flavorful. I appreciated the fact that they gave a wet towel to clean my fingers as they make you comfortable telling you to enjoy eating it with your hands. The quail was served with angel hair fries and a seasonal salad (small but good).
You may wonder at that point what Jodi ate. She had the arugula salad with goat cheese:
As well as the oven baked potatoes that were prepared with tomato, lemon and onions. It was delicious.
Last was dessert and we finished with fireworks! We got Chef Westermann‘s specialty: the Île Flottante or floating island, a french dessert made with egg whites and crème anglaise (vanilla cream). The spherical whipped egg whites topped with a bit of caramel and sitting on the creme anglaise looked beautiful. Then the first bite was divine: the egg whites had a perfect density, being quite firm, and the creme anglaise was perfectly made: not too liquid, not too thick, with a sublime vanilla taste. This is probably the best Île flottante I ever had!
Overall we had an amazing meal at Le Coq Rico: the food was superb there and, if like me you like poultry, this is definitely your spot.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Le Coq Rico - 30 E 20th Street, New York, NY 10003