Today, in his latest review, Pete Wells notes that he is almost always the one at dinner to order the chicken. And even though the restaurant critic can make his own chicken at home, Wells is pleased to find poultry at Le Coq Rico on East 20th that is worth leaving the house for:
Every time I go to a new restaurant, I hope the kitchen may know things about poultry that I don’t. Every once in a while, I’m right. At Le Coq Rico, a three-month-old restaurant on East 20th Street, I was right. In fact, I think I have finally found the perfect restaurant to take people who think they can make a better chicken at home.
Of the chicken at Le Coq Rico, Wells notes later in the review: "The meat had all the things I wanted and none of the things I didn’t. It was moist but not drippy or briny; compact and muscular but not tough; long on deep, rounded flavor that didn’t seem to rely on salt or sugar." Some of the prices can be too high, and the chicken gizzards with artichoke lack seemingly any flavor, but Wells still likes most of what he tries:
Shopping for chickens, Mr. Westermann found eggs. Some go into Matthieu Simon’s desserts, one of which is awe-inspiring: the floating island, a single grapefruit-size ball of meringue with a crackling sugar glaze on top, resting in a pond of crème anglaise. The rhubarb soufflé is another good, if more routine, showpiece for egg whites. I’d choose either over the double-wide raspberry mille-feuille whose puff pastry wasn’t crisp enough to shatter.
In the end, the Times critic finds the restaurant worthy of its subtitle "the bistro of beautiful birds," and he gives it two stars.