Le Coq Rico New York | Poultry Paradise
“When an animal lives the life it deserves, it gives back in the quality of their meat.”
The Bistro of Beautiful Birds, Poultry Paradise, Heaven of the chickens, or any other surreal and intangible name and description, you name it; the modern French bistro, Le Coq Rico is it, all of it. Located in the Flatiron District of New York City, Le Coq Rico New York, the second restaurant to the name after its original location in Paris, serves up an extravagant and seemingly over the top yet glorious menu of flawlessly raised chickens and birds. The upscale bistro luxuriously focuses on poultry with many options and possibilities to satisfy groups of all sizes, guaranteeing a hedonistic dining experience.
Walking into Le Coq Rico, guests are exposed to the bar, some counter seats and its smooth and glossy black countertop. The utilization of colors that range from the scale of white to black renders an elegant visual and essence to the overall image. As guests continue walking in, there are several tables for two on the left and a beautifully lit glass wine storage on the right. Guests then enter into one of the two dining areas – the main room with whitewashed brick walls and stylized design and décor. The other dining area is a counter; bar-like setting that overlooks the open kitchen. The use of mirrors on the wall in the back of the restaurant and reflective materials on the walls throughout the bistro visually creates an infinitely larger space. It also adds on to the restaurant’s sleek and modern interior design.
To start off, you can choose from many options for appetizers and small bites before settling on a whole bird. There are eggs, salads, soup, foies, terrines and giblets. The Iron Chefs’ Choice winner, Leek Vinaigrette is a great salad to begin your dinner. Served over a pool of Hollandaise sauce, each bite of the leeks and vegetables was guaranteed a rich and creamy taste. The russet pomme allumette (fried russet potatoes in the shape of matchsticks) placed atop gave the salad an extra crunch it needed. The Terrine en Croûte of Duck Foie Gras is a slice of buttery puff pastry, which enwraps duck liver pâté and aspic. The duck foie gras is super silky-smooth and rich in flavors. The chicken stock infused gelatin; aspic, is placed on top of each slab of terrine for not only decorative purposes, but it does contribute an additional layer of flavor and texture.
“Sharing a whole bird is a tribute to the bird and a genuine communion between friends and family.”
On the menu, guests can choose from the section Noble Whole Birds, an ideal option to share amongst several people and/or bigger groups. There is a list of chicken breeds to pick from including Brune Landaise, Plymouth Rock, Rohan Farm Duck, Cornish, Catskill Guinea Fowl, New Hampshire, and Jersey Giant. Guests can also choose to order different mains, to try out different birds without having to commit to a whole bird. The Brune Landaise Quarter, a quarter of the chicken, is raised for 120 days, poached and roasted to perfection. The meat is firm yet still soft and extremely moist, and using the provided au jus brought each bite beyond what you would expect. The Thomas Farm Squab comes as a baked pie or pastry-like dish, with the squab and en croûte on the inside of a beautifully cooked puff pastry, served over a side of potato purée and drizzled with jus reduction. Le Coq Rico offers an extensive list of wines, coq-tales and other beverages, whatever works best for you to accompany and enhance different dishes from start to finish.
tribute: an act, statement, or gift that is intended to show gratitude, respect, or admiration
The whole dining experience becomes a tribute to the birds. There are many details and décor, magnified and amplified by the mirrors, that transforms the restaurant into a heavenly space. There are grouped feathers in squares hung as art, visually warming up the whitewashed brick wall. Feathers dangling above each table and the shadows casted create a hypnotizing effect and definitely a serene and relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the amazingly delicious food. You can see the blue carving of a bird hung on a wall and lit up all around the edges, which ironically, brings some life into the dining room. It almost feels as if it would make some sounds, which would then be echoed across the room.
The birds definitely take the spotlight at Le Coq Rico, but the desserts here are just as delightful and enjoyable. They serve classically French desserts; L’ile Flottante, Wild Strawberries Soufflé, Peach Melba, Vanilla Millefeuille, and many more. The Wild Strawberries Soufflé takes a bit of time to prepare, but it’s definitely worth the wait if you are going for a fruitier dessert. The soufflé had an abundance of strawberry flavors to it and to top that, there is strawberry sorbet on the side to contrast the heat of the baked egg-based dish. There is also a side of iced Malibu that you can choose to eat together to add that extra kick of sweetness.
To go above and beyond, the L’ile Flottante is indeed a must-order! It honestly should be the first and only (if only getting one) dessert that you order. It translates to Floating Island in English and is a perfect sphere of meringue resting gently in the center of a bowl of crème anglaise topped with pink praline almonds and dusted caramel sugar. Where Le Coq Rico mainly focuses on birds and chicken, it only makes sense that its perfect dessert relies just as heavily on eggs – yolk for the crème and egg whites whipped for the meringue. The end product is more than just an egg-like floating island and surely much more than the sum of its parts. The crème anglaise is rich, creamy and might be a bit heavy on its own, but with the meringue, it gives each spoonful the lightness and soft texture. To contrast, the quick “melt in your mouth” texture of the whipped egg whites, the caramel sugar and slivered almonds give it the perfect crunch. This is definitely the ultimate simple yet elegant French dessert to ideally end your night of feasting.
After a night with an incredible dining experience at Le Coq Rico, you will feel as if you’ve experienced beyond a state of happiness. The bistro takes its focus on poultry to a whole new and particular level under the leadership of the once three-Michelin star owner and chef Antoine Westermann. From the moment of entering, guests have already risen to some kind of elevated poultry paradise. And everything just goes up and gets better from there.