Le Coucou (Manhattan)

Le Coucou was one of the most anticipated restaurant openings last year. Once word-of-mouth spread about how terrific it was, it was near impossible to secure a prime time reservation. That difficulty was exacerbated as raves from professional critics rolled out and continues even now. If you are flexible and are willing to dine early or late, a reservation can be gotten more easily. Also, they recently began serving lunch, and reserving for that appears to be less difficult. Same for brunch, which they’ve been offering for some time.

We’ve been fortunate to have had dinner there six times in '16 (early, late, and prime). In every respect, they’ve all been stellar experiences. We’ll be having lunch there for the first at the end of this month. That menu includes many of the dinner dishes and a few specific to lunch.

Recently, I wrote this blog post about Le Coucou centering on the dinner we had during my birthday weekend in October.

Le Coucou Website

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I have been following Stephen Starr restaurants for years, he certainly has the knack, from Philly, D.C., Atlantic City to New York. Most recently, we have enjoyed Le Diplomate in D.C. Great brasserie. Looking forward to scoring a table at Le Coucou.

If you have not already done so, you should also consider dining at two other of our favorite Starr restaurants in Manhattan: Upland and The Clocktower. Since they are a short walk from our apartment, we’ve been to both multiple times (Le Coucou is a short train ride). Quite different from one another with regard to cuisine-style but each excellent in its own way.

Starr’s knack for choosing outstanding chefs is what makes these restaurants so successful. I talked about Daniel Rose in my blog post. For The Clocktower, he brought Brit Jason Atherton here to be the executive chef. Though he is no longer here full-time, I’ve been told he does check in several times a year. At Upland, Starr selected Justin Smillie who was previously at Il Buco Alimentari to helm the kitchen. I’ve seen Smillie at Upland many times. They recently opened an Upland in Miami Beach, so I guess he’ll be dividing his time between the two.

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RGR…nice to see you from the chowhound board!

Completely agree on Le Coucou and Upland. Le Coucou was our best meal in NYC in the last year. It’s a shame I can’t get great reservations there as often as I’d like to.

I usually shy away from big room, famous chef, serial restaurateur establishments but Stephen Starr knows what he’s doing. We did not like Clocktower though. Felt it was a place for Credit Suisse corporate accounts and we were unimpressed with the steak there.

Now Stephen Starr and his restaurant Le Coucou have been nominated by the James Beard Awards for 2017. Trying to find a date that works at Le Coucou…Upland, too.

Imagine what it will be like if Le Coucou wins Best New Restaurant…

Have you considered doing lunch? It’s usually easier to snag a lunch reservation at both. If you check Open Table, you’ll see that there’s much more availability for lunch. For example, next Monday, you can have your pick of times at Upland, and next Wednesday, there are several openings at Le Coucou. One of our best meals at Le Coucou was the lunch we had. Lovely light coming in through the enormous windows. At Upland, it gets really noisy at dinner – sometimes uncomfortably so for me – while lunch is much quieter, especially later.

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Good idea, Roz. I know I enjoy a leisurely lunch from time to time. But I have to coordinate with friends and family. Let’s see…

Now Food & Wine has named Le Coucou one of their best restaurants of the year. Stephen Starr is on a roll as is Chef Rose. Wondering how I will be able to get a table at this point…

This on top of Le Coucou just receiving the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant (and Starr named Best Restaurateur). What was already a difficult reservations will now no doubt become near impossible. I did a quick check of OpenTable and found availability for lunch on May 16th at 11:30 a.m. Lunch had always been a bit easier to book than dinner though it’s bound to be harder now. Still worth the effort. With light streaming in through the huge windows, the ambiance during lunch is lovely. While the lunch menu differs somewhat (for example, baba au rhum, one of my favorite desserts, is served only at lunch), many of the dinner dishes are offered at lunch.

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Thanks, Roz. I often enjoy visiting restaurants off-peak…

Just booked Coucou for lunch next Monday. Already stressing over the Halibut or the Pike Quenelles for my main course but certainly looking forward to the meal.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2