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Perigord Pete Is Pleased as Punch by Le Coucou

The Times critic files his impressions on Stephen Starr’s elegant downtown restaurant

Pete Wells is blown away by Daniel Rose’s "rigorously elegant" main courses at Le Coucou in Soho. The desserts can’t quite stand up to these entrees, but the Times is impressed by pretty much everything else inside the French restaurant, from the service to the wine list to the chandeliers. Pete writes that "of all the restaurants to open in the city over the last year, Le Coucou would be my first pick for visitors from out of town who wanted a meal they couldn’t have back home." The critic finds that Rose is cooking the kind of sauce-heavy French food that New Yorkers used to love, but many have forgotten about (or never tried within the city’s limits):

Much of the cooking revolves around glossy, spoon-coating, cream- and butter-reinforced sauces that some younger diners have never tasted. These sauces aren’t remotely heavy or deadening, two of the charges hurled at them when they were led to the guillotines by the Robespierres of nouvelle cuisine.

In fact, they are so dynamic, the contours of their flavors so precise and rewarding, that smart diners lick the sauces from the heavy, scrolled, silver-plated tablespoon set to the right of the gold-rimmed plates, waiting for just this purpose.

It’s all a bit reminiscent of Midtown’s La Grenouille, except Wells notes: "I’d add that the food coming out of Le Coucou’s kitchen is more focused, the ingredients are finer, and the service is more tuned in." The blockbuster restaurant from Stephen Starr and Daniel Rose gets three stars — which is the same rating that Eater’s critic Ryan Sutton handed out in September.

Le Coucou Pays Rich Homage to Old-School French Cuisine [NYT]

Le Coucou

138 Lafayette Street, Manhattan, NY 10013 (212) 271-4252 Visit Website