Chef Antoine Westermann has taken his chicken obsession to a new level at his poultry-focused critical hit, Le Coq Rico. The chef, who opened the New York outpost last March, recently hired artist Doug Fitch to redesign the interior of his Gramercy restaurant to “expand upon the tale of the rooster Rico,” the restaurant’s namesake. Practically speaking, that means tons and tons of white feathers and hundreds of eggs on shelves as decor.
“The feathers are meant to evoke a feeling of protection, as if diners are safely ‘nestled under Rico’s wing’,” a statement on the new decorations say. The shelves stocked with eggs are in a vestibule leading to the bathroom. They are illuminated with gray and yellow light, intended to be “a sensory experience” that “evokes a warm incubator, another allusion to Rico’s life story.” Presumably, this means a trip to the bathroom should now feel like returning to the womb (if you were a chicken).
Westermann loves poultry. His original restaurant in Paris is also dedicated to chickens, but the New York City outpost focus on local birds, a result of the chef’s traveling the northeast for more than a year. His New York debut received two stars from the Times, where Pete Wells named the rotisserie one of his favorite dishes of the year. Adam Platt of Grub Street called it a top place to eat in the new year, and Eater resident carnivore Nick Solares picked the chef’s Baeckeoffe as one of the city’s top meat dishes.
Which is to say, maybe it’s a bit odd to dine among the feathers, but seems like Westermann’s obsession has paid off so far.