Let Them Eat Duck Rillettes

Sounds like Cary Neff, owner of Sansom Street Oyster House and nubile bistro Coquette, has felt the sting of a spider-woman more than once. Why else name your new restaurant after what Webster defines as, “a woman who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of men?” We feel ya, brother. Located in the Queen Village storefront hat formerly housed two Thai spots and the opened-for-five-minutes Angelina, this flirty Frenchie is unabashedly bistro with penny tiles, soft lighting, window walls, and butcher paper over tablecloths. For only being open a few days, the food was astoundingly good, from the house-baked breads served with a dollop of mild chicken liver pâté to the intense lavender ice cream that’s like a scoop full of Bath & Body Works, in a good way. Highlights included coquilles St. Jacques and littlenecks over braised leeks and nuggets of summer corn; banners of rainbow trout, simply sautéed till the skin was a crisp cracker; chilled beet soup, the magenta shade of a burlesque dancer’s lipstick, with a cloud of zippy horseradish crème fraîche; duck rillettes, served in a glass canning jar as if it were pulled from the cupboard of a French grandmother; and a nice board of six cheeses with sweet onion marmalade, fresh red currants, and hazelnut butter that tastes like Nutella minus the chocolate. Downsides: (1) The raw bar is pretty pathetic considering Coquette’s Sansom Street sister. The menu promises a West Coast breed, but there were only Blue Points and a variety from Maine being shucked. (2) Service never really hits its stride; the waiter was nice and seemed pretty informed, but felt about as awkward as a nerd asking the head cheerleader to the prom. (3) The menu screws up its French more than once, detailed here on eGullet, which is nitpicky but legitimate if a restaurant is hinging its image on certain geography. Go anyway, especially now since Coquette is currently BYOB till liquor license comes through. The menu has the affordable prices of a place that making dough on booze (entrées top at $23), not the jacked-up tags you’ll find at many BYOBs. With dinner for three only about $115 before tip, Coquette is definitely one cheap hoe.

Photo: Foobooz

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