For a second time in less than a week I found myself the spectator at an open-air kitchen. The first was at Salvation Burger, where Chef April Bloomfield is operating a well-oiled machine. Downtown in the Flatiron District, Chef Antoine Westermann is doing the same. Here his French-speaking staff is manning the rotisserie and chicken is king.
Le Coq Rico is a stylish U-shaped restaurant with a bar for drinks up front, and a kitchen bar in an adjacent room. Black onyx counters, fresh linens and prompt service make dining here a pleasure. Cocktails include drinks like the "Frenchie Bellini" with peach purée & lavender, while the "Sexy Bardot" features rosé wine, rose water & "Turkhish Delight." Or, share a bottle of wine. Reds, whites and sparkling varieties are available.
The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner offering an assortment of "Eggz," including the "En Meurette" with bacon and mushrooms in a red wine reduction. Soft-boiled, poached and deviled eggs are also available. But it is the chicken that most people are coming for. Wastermann prides himself on choosing heritage chickens from small family farms, and judges them by their age. The older the better.
A quarter chicken, priced at $24, arrived with a portion of the leg and wing. Crisp, flavorful skin giving way to the richness of light and dark meat below served with natural juices. Rich, golden mashed potatoes made for a nice side. Guinea fowl, cornish hens, duck and roasted squab are also offered along with a few seafood dishes, including lobster with chicken fricassée.
Desserts bring mango souffle with passion fruit sauce, a chocolat millefeuille with puff pastry and coffee cream, along with an assortment of ice creams and sorbets in flavors like coconut-lime and green apple.
Le Coq Rico is a breath of fresh air. Chef Westermann has created something truly special.