Three of us had a fabulous meal at Le Coq Rico this week. I had been told by a friend that the duck was the best he had ever had, so of course, being duck afficionados we had to try it. The restaurant is a branch of one in Montmartre in Paris, owned by Alsatian chef Antoine Westermann, and the Frenchness is palpable. The atmosphere is rustic and sophisticated at the same time, with whimsical touches like panels of feathers on the wall, and more feathers suspended from the ceiling. The clientele is mostly well-dressed, well-groomed, and well-behaved, not screeching like what we so often encounter these days. It is lively, however, and everyone seemed to be having a good time.
Let me start by saying we ordered too much food. We tend to do this on our first visit to any restaurant, in order to try more dishes. So, we began with the offal platter, a board holding two each of various chicken innards and wings. It was delicious, as were the duck rillettes and the deviled eggs with tuna ventresca and cabbage salad. The duck is billed as being for up to three people, but with appetizers and sides it could easily feed five. It comes with a green salad, and we added a side of mushrooms. This is not your traditional roast duck, it is only the breast and wings, albeit a huge one. When it still had its legs, this bird must have weighed ten pounds or more. Like the chickens here, it is spit-roasted, resulting in tender but firm, medium-rare meat, with a bit of fat left under the skin. It is served with a jus for pouring over. Stanley and I drank a Nitro Milk Stout, while Rick had a glass of sparkling blanc de blancs. We thought the dark, rich beer went especially well with the food. We almost skipped dessert, but were tempted by the chestnut and passion fruit vacherin, so we decided to continue stuffing ourselves. I’m so glad we did, as this was something I would normally expect to have to travel to France to experience. And, once again, it was not only enough for the three of us, it could have served four.
I can’t wait to return to try the chickens.