Lunch at Le Coucou
Le Coucou is the newest Stephen Starr restaurant to grace the NYC dining scene. It's been getting rave reviews since opening last year and most recently took home the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant in May.
The space is absolutely gorgeous. The entryway is flanked by a beautiful bar to the right with fresh flowers and citrus fruits and a dining room to the left, bright and crisp with long rays of sunshine streaming through the windows onto the white linen tablecloths.
I was seated in the middle of the dining room with direct view of the open kitchen in back. A warm basket of bread to begin studded with toasted sesame seeds and freshly churned Vermont butter. Le Coucou offers a two course prix fixe menu at lunch time with an ever changing choice of dishes like Grilled Leeks with hazelnuts, Fried Montauk Eel and Halibut in buerre blanc.
I chose the Charred Asparagus with Big Eye Tuna sashimi for my first course. The rough cut charring of the outer skin brought a wonderful rustic flavor to the green and the wood smoked vinegar brought a bit of acid. I'm not usually a big asparagus person but this entire dish was devoured.
For entree the French classic Pike Quenelle in lobster broth. I've had this dish many times before but its NEVER tasted like this. Whipped pike impossibly light, like a cross between a souffle and an omelet covered in a bubbly broth of lobster. This was absolutely divine. It manged to feel indulgent and rich but still remain impeccably light.
To finish a complementary square of rich dark chocolate and a lemon shortbread cookie...
...with a piping hot espresso to served in beautiful french china.
This meal was absolutely wonderful. The food was incredible and it was honestly the first time I've finished a meal at an upscale french restaurant and not felt overly full- just completely satisfied. Stephen Starr has churned out a big winner once again. Now the only problem is getting a reservation to enjoy this wonderful cooking again.
138 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10013