Stephen Starr’s Le Coucou is Pete Well’s favorite new restaurant

lcc-room-06-w640h480December 14, 2016- The NYT reports, “The genius of this project from the chef Daniel Rose and the restaurateur Stephen Starr is that it gives us almost everything we loved about New York’s old-line French restaurants without the things we didn’t. The dining room isn’t stuffy, the service isn’t snooty, and people don’t get seated in Siberia if their pronunciation of boeuf bourguignon doesn’t have the right backhand spin. (As far as I can tell, Le Coucou doesn’t have a Siberia.) The wine list covers the historic old appellations of France, but it also embraces emerging ones and exciting regions from other countries while pricing bottles in a range that’s unusually democratic. Meanwhile, Mr. Rose knocks the dust off some archetypal premodern French dishes. Sole Véronique gets its peeled grapes and its butter-girded sauce along with a sense of conviction that can’t be faked. The fleecy quenelles of pike, half-submerged in a lava flow of sauce Américaine, have a finer flavor than the ones at La Grenouille, which some people still think of as the city’s standard-bearer. Mr. Rose isn’t simply hauling out museum pieces, though. He’s making them fresh again, and relevant. ★★★; 138 Lafayette Street; SoHo 212-271-4252; lecoucou.com.

Stephen Starr

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