It is quite possible that the throat grabbing, intensely reduced caramelized chicken stock coated, bacon and onion laden, falling off the bone Coq au vin that we just had at Comme Ca for $24 may be the single most satisfying dish we've had this year. Or so it seemed last night. Much the same could be said for the rest of the bistro hit parade dishes we tried as well: a frisee, lardon, and egg salad for $12 perfectly dressed, a bowl of plump slightly sweet mussels for $16 in a flavorful and creamy broth, a steak frites with a maitre d'hotel butter for $28 that was lean, tender and sizeable with fries that were perfectly crisp and salted. We finished with an individual tart tatin that had the requisite brittleness if an unexpected layer of cake. Bread and butter were a meal unto themselves. Chefs David Myer and Michael David, as the menu's credits read, are potentially fulfiling every Balthazar fantasy that has been smouldering since Keith McNally's seminial brasserie erupted in NYC.
We sat quite comfortably on the main banquette in the front room and while the room buzzes visually it is rather flat. There are fun touches such as designer butcher block paper, bold wood paneling and beautiful service ware but the lighting has the final effect of washing everything into a bland tableau when it should sparkle.
Service as with most new restaurants was sweet and solicitous (with truly strong performances from the bussing and running staff) but understandably tentative at this early stage, one guessing about the charcuterie plate at the table next to us while two managers spent our last fifteen minutes trying to add the carafe of wine and one other glass to the our check after we pointed out they had been left off. (The cheese manager's presentation, on the other hand, at another table was superb.) No matter. The Food Network crowd and Chef Myers bounding about more than held our interest. $147 for two before tip.