David and I were in New York for a wedding in June, and when our plans fell through on the last night of our trip, we jumped at the chance to have dinner at one of NYC’s newest restaurants, Le Coucou. Le Coucou had only opened two weeks prior and is American Chef Daniel Rose’s (of Paris’s Spring fame) first restaurant in the states.
I’m not sure which I found more exciting – that Daniel Rose had opened a restaurant in Manhattan or that design firm Roman and Williams were in charge of the decor. (You likely have already seen their work at the Ace Hotel, or The Standard NYC, Stumptown Coffee etc.) This space is decidedly more romantic – and residential feeling – than many of Rowan and Williams past restaurant projects. From the plush sofas and bucolic hand-painted mural that swirls around the bar to the vintage Thornet dining chairs upholstered in a delicious hunter green velvet, you feel like you’re stepping into a country estate rather than a buzzy new restaurant in Little Italy. Further details like whitewashed exposed brick walls, monumental crystal and cast iron chandeliers, and delicate gold rimmed glassware all held me in their thrall.
The dining experience is equal parts witty banter with the staff and thoughtful details. I started with their 528 cocktail (yellow chartreuse, cognac, cherry ratafia, lemon) which is named for the birthdate shared by 3 members of the staff, all born on May 28th. The menu is not friendly to those who count calories, but dining at Le Coucou feels like a party so why would you want to? Standouts included le salade de tomates et mangetout rafraîchis aux fraises, tout le lapin (“all of the rabbit”), and quenelle de brochet avec sauce américaine. We loved the ambiance and didn’t want to leave so we ended up ordering two rounds of cappuccinos at the end.
If I’m so fortunate to be living in Greenwich Village when I’m 80, I want to be a regular at Le Coucou, with “my table” by the window. Until then I’ll have to be content with recreating the look at home.
Photos by Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com