Coquette: Open for Lunch

Lunch menu.  Click for full-sized image.

Lunch Menu. Click for full-sized image.

Today was the first day lunch was being served at Coquette, and quite honestly, everything was spot on.  The kitchen crew is doing a spectacular job, putting out some of the best tasting food in the area. The service is more than acceptable, particularly after only a week and having let go at least a dozen initial hires.  Moreover, there was a fairly decent buzz in the room for a Monday afternoon.

Our group of three had six dishes between us, including two soups.  The onion soup gratinee was incredibly flavorful, without the overwhelming amount of salt often found from cutting corners and not using slowly-cooked, rich stock.  No such problem here, as Coquette’s version is one of the best examples of this iconic dish.  If you say you don’t like pea soup, you haven’t had this rendition: sweet peas with a tasty ham stock — folks, this is heaven in a bowl.

I must be a real man, because I don’t really like quiche.  But goddammit, I loved Coquette’s quiche Lorraine.  I think the best way to describe this is to imagine a quiche souffle, as the eggy custard is incredibly light, but filled with cheese and egg flavors, with plenty of bacon, ham and caramelized onion near the crust.  Time for me to start ordering quiche, I guess.

We also tried the scallops with orange-braised endive.  My wife had these last Monday, the opening night, and they were slightly over-salted.  No such problem for lunch.  Seared on both sides yet still pretty rare, these are some of the best scallops you’ll find in town, with the endive offering a nice, tangy and bitter contrast to the rich sweetness of the shellfish.

I had a simple frisee’ salad with a poached egg, lardons and croutons.  I’ve already written about how poached eggs make the world go round, but this is the first restaurant in the area I’ve found that offers such a salad for lunch.  I have no doubt that I will order this quite frequently.

The final dish we tried was the crepes with brie, apples and candied walnuts.  This was almost sweet enough to be dessert, but not quite.  The candied walnuts had some type of pepper in them, giving a nice, piquant contrast to the sweetness of the glaze.  It was a fine way to end the meal.

Lunch also comes with Coquette’s bread service, but don’t fill up too much.

The cost for these 6 dishes was only $45, including tax, but excluding tip.  The prices are very reasonable for lunch, and I expect Coquette to have a steady mid-day crowd.

Business over the first week has picked up substantially, and on Saturday, the restaurant served 217 customers in the dining room and as many as an additional 150 in the bar area.  They’re about to open their private room for dinner guests to accomodate even more people, so there’s little doubt that Raleigh is ready for this restaurant.  And Coquette is certainly ready for you to give it a try.

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7 Responses to Coquette: Open for Lunch

  1. Becca says:

    The image link is broken for me! Please fix as I SO enjoyed my dinner and drinks at Coquette last Saturday night and am eager to try out their lunch menu should my schedule allow… kthxbai

  2. Rafe says:

    I have reservations for tonight and am very excited

  3. Chops says:

    Rue Cler serves a frisee salad for lunch……

  4. yahooer says:

    We visited for first brunch yesterday. Food was quite good. Service good enough although our waiter forgot to mention the specials which we would have gotten. Unfortunately wonderful experience was ruined by flies everywhere. It was a nice day and it was nice to have windows open, but I just can’t eat food, no matter how good or wonderfully presented, when there are flies on it. They have to do something about that.

    Chances are we won’t be back.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Yahooer,

    We are glad you enjoyed your Coquette experience outside of the flies. When creating the restaurant we wanted our guests to enjoy the open-air experience that you would find at some brasseries in France. That being said, we are doing everything in our power to eliminate any issues with flies. Our outdoor grounds are sprayed periodically(bushes, sidewalk) and the inside is maintained once a week. Every evening and morning the restaurant is cleaned extensively by a crew.

    We are sorry to hear of your disappointment and hope that you change your mind about revisiting the restaurant.

    Sincerely,

    Scott Luetgenau
    Director of Operations
    The Urban Food Group
    scott@urbanfoodgroup.com

  6. MB says:

    Dean, you did not have a Coquette dessert header so I decided to post here. We went to Coquette last night for dessert and wine and the restaurant was bustling. The hostess asked if we had a reservation and that it was a 45 minute wait for a table. So we found the only available spot in the bar which was a small table in the back. Our waitress immediately brought us menus for dinner and we told her that we were only there for dessert but glanced over to dinner menus and agreed that we would definitely return. The service, food and wine were all wonderful. I was impressed by the amount of people there on a Tuesday evening. We began speaking with the ladies next to us who had been told that 300 guests had dined at Coquette at lunch. We all agreed that the restaurant is a gem and that it in itself is a destination for North Hills. Personally, I don’t shop at North Hills but I will return there to dine at Coquette. I’m looking forward to the crepes.

    Congrats to Coquette and please keep up the good work!

  7. W says:

    North Hills has a policy restricting the presence of those under 18. It is called the “parents of site policy”. On occassion they have detained those under 18 using mall police and raleigh police (off duty I believe) and forced them to wait in the detainment center(usually one of the meny vacant stores) for parents to pick them up.

    On August 9, 2012, I saw at least 20 youths being detained as described above in the old bookstore next to JC Penny. They had done nothing wrong exept being under 18.

    I will not spend money at a mall that treats people like this.

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