Brown and light chicken stock. Lobster stock. Veal stock. Duck jus. Duck confit. Rabbit confit. These have all been made in anticipation of Coquette’s first customers, which will actually be tonight. Not paying customers, mind you, but special guests at a fundraising party for a local charity. Tomorrow night brings family members and Saturday, regulars and other special guests. Monday is when the real show begins, and that’s the date everyone is focusing on.
One of the walk-in refrigerators has tens of gallons of stock. Pears are macerating for the pastry chef. Hanger steaks are being trimmed. The energy of the kitchen is palpable, as these young line cooks know what’s coming: large crowds with huge expectations.
Of course, there are last minute issues. Inspectors didn’t like the fact that some minor wiring was being done in the kitchen while food was being prepared, but that wiring was in a different part of the kitchen. Final, “punch list” construction items in the dining room are being finalized. The tables and chairs have not yet been laid out in final formation. And there’s a ton of glassware and dishes to be washed, but that’s an easy part of the preparation.
I also got to try some of Coquette’s new cocktails, which feature exotic flavors such as elderflower and ginger liqueurs (that would be St. Germain and Canton, respectively) and housemade orange and grapefruit bitters. Customers wishing to imbibe won’t be disappointed, especially with the 100 bottle wine list and with six Belgian beers on tap and a dozen more by the bottle. Sit at the beautiful, French-made zinc bar, and enjoy yourself!
I suspect the window seats will be highly sought after, as you almost have your own private balcony. Granted, the cooler weather may limit the use of these for now, but if we get an Indian summer, watch out.