Some notes on the dining adventures during some recent visits to New York.
Classic French cuisine has come to New York’s Lower East Side from an American, via Paris. Daniel Rose, whose Spring restaurant has wooed hard-to-impress Parisians, has opened Le Coucou, and it, in turn, has New Yorkers clambering to get into what is arguably the hottest restaurant in town. And unlike others that have held that title in the past (think Per Se), Le Coucou is worth it.
Rose has partnered with Stephen Starr, whose group of Starr Restaurants dominate the Philadelphia dining scene. (You can read about some of them here.)
Le Coucou, designed by Manhattan’s Roman and Williams, is rustically elegant. High ceilings with no effort to hide the beams or ductwork and brick walls, not to mention an open kitchen, are offset by tables lavishly draped with white linens. And each table is graced by a single, slender and tall tapered candle.
The menu is unapologetically ultra French. Even in a city full of diners who would categorize themselves as adventurous, veal head isn’t found on many menus, even with its more lyrical name, Tête de Veau. The meat, which was boiled from the calf’s head, was fashioned into the small disk and fried, then plated with a sort of egg salad seasoned with chervil and tarragon and draped with an anchovy.