A year has passed since our last visit to Coquette, but it was definitely worth waiting for . . .
The five of us -- back in town for a conference PLUS the French Quarter Festival -- arrived at Coquette only discover that it was "Speciality Cocktail Night," and all their housemade specialty drinks were only $5! We were shown to the upstairs dining room -- something I didn't even realize existed on my previous visit! In contrast to the black-and-white tile floor and pressed tin ceiling, this has a hardwood floor, artwork on the walls -- it's a very comfortable room that felt "private" even in the presence of other diners.
We began with cocktails. I had my usual Sazerac (excellent, by the way), while Lynn & Virginia had a "Ponchatoula Punch" (strawberry infused vodka, Amaretto, lemon and vanilla Dry Soda; quite good, a bit like Hawaiian Punch, but without the sweet finish), and Amy & Linda had a "Coquette Collins" (shochu, hibiscus liqueur, ginger liqueur, lemon, soda; light, clean, refreshing). Then, we moved onto a bottle of Champagne (Diebolt-Vallois) as we contemplated our appetizers . . .
The Local Green Salad (with candied pecans, red wine vinaigrette and goat cheese) was fresh, flavorful and refreshing. The Pork Rillette (served with cornichons, piquillo peppers, Dijon mustard, and toast points) was one of the very best renditions of this dish I've ever had! The Fettuccine, served with a fresh yard egg, country ham, and fava beans was truly delicious. And the Roast Oysters -- prepared with fennel, Benton's bacon ragout and horseradish -- were just perfect!
For our mains, we focused this time on the restaurant's seafood: Arctic Char (prepared with sweet pea risotto, asparagus, and a preserved lemon vinaigrette) was stunning; so was the Alaskan Halibut (with globe artichokes, niçoise olives and fennel), and the Black Drum (served atop shrimp and grits with collard greens) left all of us wanting more! These were perfectly matched with a bottle of the 2007 Domaine Leflaive Mâcon-Verzé.
And for dessert? Well, we just had to get their beignets again -- this time paired with chocolate pot de créme and cream -- but we also had their chocolate brownie served with cherry anglaise and their vanilla panna cotta with blood orange, candied fennel and basil. Simply put -- fantastic!
As far as our criticism of our previous visit, we never felt rushed or hurried. Indeed, we enjoyed our meal at a peaceful leisurely pace and a great time was had by all!
2800 Magazine Street, New Orleans, LA 70115