The Restaurant: Perry Street
Why we like it: It’s an oldie, but
Why we like it: Yes, we love New York for the shoebox restaurants, where eating just one more French fry will make it impossible to squeeze between tables, and where lighting is so dim everyone looks good. But sometimes, when we really want to enjoy someone’s company, and partake in a refined dining experience, we look outside of that shoebox. Enter Le Coucou, the brainchild of mega restaurateur Stephen Starr and Chicago-born chef Daniel Rose, who cut his teeth at Spring and La Bourse et La Vie in Paris. The opening of Le Coucou may just be another sign, following Gabriel Kreuther, of the return of the fine dining experience to New York.
This is a civilized place; not overly opulent but sedately grand and elegant. There’s no bar scene to belly up and grab a quick bite; from the time you enter, it’s clear that this is a serious restaurant, where food and experience are going to be the focus. What’s impressive is that they actually deliver on all of the above, and add flawless yet personal service that’s not stuffy to the equation, which is winning all around.
What to order: For God’s sake, they have quenelles on the menu. It’s as French as it gets. Quenelles, for those who are not familiar, are traditional pike dumplings, which are pillows of deliciousness. We dare say that these quenelles, with a lobster sauce that they bring hot seconds out on half-way through your dish, beat those at the iconic La Tour D’Argent in Paris. We also loved the warm leeks to start, and filet du boeuf with the oxtail potatoes. Unlike the décor, the flavors are intense. The scene is laid back enough and pricing not so offensive that you could make this your neighborhood spot.