Paris on the Hudson

August 31, 2018

You come out of the subway at Canal Street on a hot afternoon, into the blinding sun and squalor of the city.  You cross Canal and look up Lafayette, and there, improbably, is a swath of lush green leaves, beckoning like an oasis in the dessert. It is the most inviting sight.

Inside Le Coucou is every bit as enticing; with its high ceilings, widely spaced tables and romantic murals it might be the loveliest restaurant in New York.

And the food Daniel Rose is cooking is… pure delight.

This was a simple zucchini soup – just the squash, a bit of creme fraiche, a hint of mint.  And well, a dollop of caviar.

The quenelle floating on its puddle of champagne beurre blanc, is light and airy.  Even if it didn’t have that little crown of caviar, it would be what gefilte dreams of being when it closes its eyes at night.

The lettuce, forming that pig face, is a little joke. But the tete de cochon – a deconstructed pig’s head – is no joke. It might be the most delicious dish in New York right now, a dance of soft textures and rich flavors, the decadence tamed by a stern hit of vinegar.

Tile fish, cooked so that the scales form a crisp crust, in a warm tomato vinaigrette.

Duck with cherries served in two flights. That lovely dish at the top is the leg with chanterelles; here the breast with cherries.

Paris Brest.  Even if you don’t like sweet, crisp, creamy deserts, you might love this. The flavor of the hazelnuts is so delightfully intense.

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