It was one of those rare New York City weekends where I made up for my heavy fall travel all in one night..and then paid for it the entire next day. It was completely worth the late night jaunt to Le Bain, knowing I was waking up with a hearty brunch at new hotspot Le Coq Rico.
After several snoozes and a lackluster attempt to look presentable enough for fancier French fare, I was off to meet my friend Kyle and put myself back together again. Lucky for me, it’s in a prime location right near Union Square and my abode, so it only required a few block walk.
The staff was warm and welcoming from the minute we stepped inside, and I barely had my jacket off before I was being offered water and coffee. I either looked very hungover, or the service was fantastic. I was immediately served with my choice of coffee and a sampling of two fresh pressed juices. One was a “sirocco breath” with celery, carrot, apple, turmeric, and nutmeg, and one was a “root twist” with beet, ginger, and orange. This was just what the doctor ordered, and I immediately started to feel better.
We were also served a wonderful assortment of pastries. I thank my lucky stars I was diagnosed with celiac after my recent trip to Paris, because it would have next to impossible to say no to croissants like this more than once. Kyle sampled many of the crispy, buttery pastries in the basket, and I was very jealous.
First up for our starters was the “En Meurette”, described as bacon and mushroom in red wine reduction. The sauce was rich and familiar – picture something like a coq au vin sauce, and then add poached eggs and thick cut bacon bits.
We also shared the artichokes a la bariboule, salad with sautéed confit gizzards. I’m not usually an artichoke person, but I actually enjoyed that portion of the salad. I took Kyle’s word on the flavorful nature of the gizzards..As beautiful as the plate, that will never be my cup of tea.
For our mains, we sampled the quarter chicken served with mixed seasonal greens. This was perfectly seasoned with a beautiful presentation, and I couldn’t get enough of the juice we doused all over the chicken. They don’t call this restaurant “Bistro of the Birds” for nothing! Yum.
The housemade chicken and mushroom sausage up next was my personal favorite. For starters, it was huge portion, which was perfect for sharing. It was also a really interesting, lighter, and almost whipped consistency; I couldn’t stop eating it! I even borrowed some of the jus from the chicken for dipping both the sausage and the pan fried potatoes. I can’t say this would be a normal brunch order for me, but I was so glad the restaurant sent this out for us to try, because it was really a special dish.
If all that wasn’t enough, the chef sent out some incredible desserts. My favorite was the l’ole flottante, a soft meringue, red praline, and creme anglaise.
The other was sadly not on the menu, but it was extraordinary and you should ask for it when you go in by showing them our pictures! It was amazingly airy, yet creamy, and despite being incredibly full, I couldn’t help but finish off the entire plate.
The Bitches say: A. Le Coq Rico serves authentic French fare with perfectly-cooked meats and a refreshingly different brunch menu. Don’t miss the desserts.
Le Coq Rico
30 East 20th Street
(212) 267 – 7426
Le Coq Rico serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.