Three-star Michelin chef, Antoine Westermann, opened his New York City bistro Le Coq Rico just over a year ago and has since received noticeable critical acclaim, including the fourth spot on New York Times critic Pete Wells' list, Top New York Restaurants of 2016. To celebrate his second spring in the Flatiron District, Westermann has introduced his take on an American classic to his already delectable and accessible lunch menu: Antoine’s Caesar salad.
The dish is comprised of crisp, farm-fresh romaine lettuce, croutons of thinly sliced toasted baguette, an egg yolk-based anchovy vinaigrette, and chicken meatball croquettes made of the intensely flavorful leftovers used to make the restaurant’s rich stock for their chicken soup, among many other dishes on the menu. The croquettes are crispy on the outside yet very tender on the inside and the addition of the egg yolk to the vinaigrette, when it mixes with the savory anchovies and Parmigiano-Reggiano, creates a velvet-like texture that juxtaposes the crunch of the croquettes and thoroughly satisfies the palate. The dish is a study in the boîte’s mission to pay homage to America’s unique terroir expressed through the diverse flavors of our game birds, which the chef set out to accomplish after spending more than a year in the Northeast learning about the region’s specific foodways—particularly in Pennsylvania and New York’s Hudson Valley.
In addition to the Caesar, other must-order items include the slow-cooked egg with chanterelles, peas, asparagus, and chanterelle emulsion; the spring-appropriate sorrel velouté soup with a soft and creamy chicken ball; and, if you’re into foie gras, be sure to partake in Westermann’s seared version, served with slices of Honey Crisp apple, almonds, and a cherry vinegar reduction. Don’t punish yourself with a dry lunch either, as the wine list is a Franco oenophile’s dream, and it affords diners the opportunity to have the singularly gratifying experience of eating food and drinking wine that were truly made to be enjoyed together.
If you are looking to impress a client or perhaps relatives-in-law but must be mindful of your mid-day meal budget, Le Coq Rico’s lunch can be had at a variety of price points: there’s the rotating plat du jour for just $19—Tuesdays are for coq au vin while Thursdays boast homemade chicken and mushroom sausage with fried garlic and parsley potatoes, and a green salad—or the three-course prix fixe for $38 that includes the option of the Caesar salad and other hits from the kitchen such as the Brune Landaise breed quarter chicken with a seasonal salad. So, however you decide to take it in, there’s really no way to run “afowl” with Le Coq Rico’s lunch menu.