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Coquette-Raleigh

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fwbeach Nov 1, 2008 10:17 AM

Has anyone tried Coquette at North Hills ( http://coquetteraleigh.com/ )since they opened up to the public this week? I keep waiting on Varmintbites ( http://varmintbites.wordpress.com/ ) to review but haven't seen it.

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  1. eightlegeddj RE: fwbeach Nov 2, 2008 03:14 PM

    I'm going tomorrow night. A friend of mine went last week and raved. I was hoping to read more here, but it looks like I'll be the first. Real French food. Here! Thank you Urban Food Group!

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      stapy1 RE: fwbeach Nov 3, 2008 06:15 AM

      Yes, I went there last Saturday and loved it. The place was very busy, and my reservation for 2 at 8:45 turned into sometime after 9, but it was worth the wait. Steak frites are a classic presentation with the shoestring fries and tender, juicy steak. I opted for the butter sauce instead of the peppercorn or hollandaise. Wine is served by the bottle or you can choose from 2 reds and a riseling by the 500mL carafe. The lobster bisque was also superb. For dessert, we had the vanilla creme brulee and port. The service was very good considering it was opening weekend, and the manager personally came by to make sure we were enjoying ourselves. I think this place, (unlike South - the former tenant in this location) will survive and enjoy a large following. I would definitely recommend Coquette, and you can read my full review at www.vinomundo.blogspot.com

      1. eightlegeddj RE: fwbeach Nov 7, 2008 10:56 AM

        I had dinner there on Monday, 11/3. I was fantastic. You know how they say you should wait a couple weeks before going to a new restaurant? Forget it! Don't deprive yourself of this splendid treat!

        I had dinner at the bar with two friends. We started with the olives, nice variety, very tasty. I ordered the frisee and lardons salad with a poached egg. The salad was outstanding. It's dressed with a Sherry vinagrette a little heavy on the Sherry vinegar. The yolk of the egg is warm but runny and the perfect compliment to the dressing. The dressing would be lost to the yolk without the excess vinegar, but mixed with the buttery yolk , it's sublime. This salad would make an excellent light lunch or brunch with a little bread or pastry. The salad was larger than I expected. One friend ordered the Steak Frites. It was cooked perfectly. The steak was tender and juicy and an excellent deal for $19. The fries were crispy but not greasy. The other friend ordered the duck confit crepes. I don't eat duck, so I didn't try it, but she raved about it. It was a perfectly portioned small plate, but I forget the price. I ordered the Moules Frites. Weighing that against the Steak Frites, I can't decide which was the star of the show. I ordered the saffron broth with tomatoes. It was the best I've ever had. The mussels were cooked perffectly, not at all rubbery or gritty. The dish is a steal at $13. I was served about twice what I was expecting, with a huge silver cup of the shoestring fries and a great overall presentation. I tried hard, but I wasn't able to finish all of the mussels. I had a glass of the cotes du Rhone and my friends had beers. In reviewing the dessert menu, I was afraid the offerings were a bit pricey. When we were served the cherry clafoutis, I realized I was wrong. it was served in a good sized cast iron skillet, warm, with a scoop of ice cream. The clafoutis was great, crispy on top, soft inside, the cherries were sweet and tart. You really have to try this! After all the food we'd had, we weren't able to finish the dessert.

        The server split the cost of the olives and clafoutis on our two bills for us without asking, which I liked. My glass of wine, salad, mussels, half of the olives and half of the dessert came to $34 and I was completely stuffed! The portions were generous, the prices were fair. For any other restaurant, the service was pretty good. In light of the fact that they were open only a week, the service was great. Naturally there were a few timing issues, but I would consider them to be minor. Again, because they were only open a week, they didn't have a couple things yet, like cassis for cocktails or my favorite, Lillet, but they should be in shortly. There are a few kinks to work out with timing and vendors and once they are straight, this brasserie with be a stellar restaurant. The inside is beautiful, the atmosphere is very Parisian. I really, really loved this place.

        I was able to look over the lunch menu. The prices are very reasonable! Most of the sandwiches were $6 or $7. They had the Moules Frites for $13 and the Steak Frites for $13. I can see this place being packed for lunch. I was also told by a bartender they are serving dinner until midnight, great for an after movie snack or service industry folks. For a Monday night a week after opening, they were remarkably full. I think I might recommend reservations for this place.

        Kevin, Stacy and the gang have another homerun here. The Urban Food Group have really proven themselves to be first class restauranteurs. Given that plus the location, we can expect a successful Coquette to be around for a long time. I can't thank them enough for bring this experience to Raleigh.

        And I can't wait to stop by for lunch tomorrow!

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          ncmike276 RE: fwbeach Nov 7, 2008 11:21 AM

          I had lunch there today - Duck Confit Crepes and a beer. Impressive! A couple leaving as I came in told the manager how pleased they were, and that it was their third lunch there this week and they were coming for dinner tomorrow. The staff is on the ball. I intend to go back next week. I'd call it a home run!

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            pamelahughes RE: fwbeach Nov 18, 2008 04:46 AM

            We ate at Coquette last night. It was amazing- my new favorite restaurant in Raleigh!! I had the plat du jour - cod with cranberry beans - it was perfect- absolutely delicious. My husband had the Steak Frites which was perfectly cooked and very delicious and my father in law had the scallop petit plat with the grilled asparagus as a side. I tried them all and it was hard to decide what I liked best. I can't wait to go back!

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              mikequinlan RE: fwbeach Nov 19, 2008 06:14 AM

              Went Tues night around 6:30. Really awesome! Much attention given to making it look like a real brasserie. Menu also follows classic brasserie style -- moules, cassolet, croque monsieur, etc. Pretty reasonable prices. Hear it gets really packed on weekends, but we walked right in Tues at 6:30.

              1. Nab RE: fwbeach Nov 20, 2008 06:41 AM

                Was in town for a quick night and the thought of French comfort food seemed like the perfect warm hug on a cold night.

                This place is a zoo. Everybody there seemed so jazzed to be dining at the 'hottest new restaurant in town' ! I realize this sounds like a knock, but it's really just to say that there is a very real and present buzz and energy level to the place. I'm not sure I was in the mood for that on my visit, but I endured.

                I walked my cold ass in off the street hoping to find a quiet spot at the bar, instead got the prime piece of real estate on the corner of the bar right in the line of cold air whooshing in from the entrance, and in front of the hostess stand which was being mobbed by parties of 12 and more. Hey, I guess I was lucky to even get in the place to begin with.

                The by-the-glass wine list is very limited, but well thought out, and the slurps that I had were mostly all winners, in particular the delicious Cahors which I had to have seconds of. Was also happy to see a nice list of Belgian brews, and I was reminded how much I like Bavik pilsner.

                The grub-list covers all the standards & classics, and the Wednesday night special was a poached beef tenderloin something-or-other with flageolet beans and something something something that sounded delicious. I decided to order a round of Malpeques to ponder the beef and cassoulet and skate wing. Oysters were expertly shucked with plenty of luscious liquor to slurp down. Then came the litmus test of bread & butter. The baguette thankfully is made in-house, and is far better than what I recall bread to be here in the Triangle -- hard & crusty, and the interior gave off that tell-tale smell of a real baguette, though for some reason didn't have quite the same taste or texture. But still very good bread and I was just thankful they didn't simply throw down the Whole Foods stuff. The butter was creamy & salty, maybe even a bit too salty, and a few degrees colder than it should have been, but still good. I decided to nosh on a couple of smaller plates, and started with the rabbit rillettes which, unfortunately were served colder than room temperature and as a result didn't quite open up in flavour. It was a nice uneven mix of shredded and chunks of meat, but it was too cold for me to distinguish this from tuna or chicken salad until the last couple of bites. Sweetbreads were perfectly pan-fried, served with asparagus and shrooms ontop a cute little pastry ontop of some kind of starch puree. Very good, just too many mushy themes in the texture department.

                The barstaff were very competent and hospitable. And the prices are incredibly reasonable, but that just might be my forgetting how good the quality of life and cost of living is here in RTP.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Nab
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                  rockycat RE: Nab Nov 20, 2008 11:27 AM

                  Long time, no hear, Nab. Welcome back.

                  1. re: rockycat
                    Nab RE: rockycat Nov 20, 2008 07:46 PM

                    Thanks, RC. It was nice to be back and I hope to be back more often. Let's break bread next time.

                2. m
                  mattb3 RE: fwbeach Dec 1, 2008 07:55 AM

                  We had dinner there with another couple two Sundays ago and it was fantastic. I was disappointed that the skate wasn't available. I was told they are taking it off the menu due to supply/demand issues affecting the freshness standard they want to maintain, so I can respect that decision. We shared a very interesting charcuterie platter, that looked too small at first, but was the right amount after all and every bite was very tasty. I enjoyed my cassoulet, but they were a little heavy handed with the bread crumb topping. My wife had a perfectly done steak frites, my buddy enjoyed the plat du jour of the braised veal breast, and his wife had the star of the evening-amazing sweet trout.
                  The apple tart was plenty sharable for dessert for four afterwards.

                  I'm really looking forward to a return visit for some moules and crepes.

                  1. r
                    raleighchow RE: fwbeach Dec 17, 2008 07:32 PM

                    Six of us picked Coquette to celebrate a birthday today (Wednesday lunch). I tried for 11:30 reservations, but they weren't available. Our choices were 11:15 or 12:00. We took 11:15. Arrived to an empty restaurant. We were led to a nice, open-ended on both sides booth for six. Comfortable and cozy, yet with enough elbow room. Drinks were brought quickly and replenished at impeccable speed the whole time. Bread is brought in cute little cup baskets. Two kinds. Baguette slices and Rye w/Sunflower Seeds. Served with butter at a perfect temperature. Not too hard or soft. Two of us shared the frisee salad with poached egg. Delicious. Our main dishes took quite awhile to come out, but they were worth the wait. My son and I shared mussels with chorizo & frites, and seafood crepe. Two others had the duck confit crepes, and another a steak sandwich with frites. The frites come with an awesome aioli. Very garlicky. We did ask for some ketchup as well (sorry, blasphemy, but the two went so well together). The mussels were a generous bowlful, but many of them were not quite open. Some were stringy. The ones that were good were really really good. The broth was excellent as a dipper for the bread. The seafood crepe was very tasty. Light. The crepes themselves are not filled. They're served folded with sauce, peas and seafood on top. Duck confit crepes are two generously filled crepes. I only got a small taste, but would happily go back and order it for myself. The steak sandwich looked good and was appreciated by my husband, but he sure didn't part with so much as a bite, so I can't attest to that one myself.
                    For dessert we shared the profiteroles and one other dessert that I don't remember the name of. It had two tiny poached pears plus a small pastry with a small scoop of ice cream. All together we had 2 iced teas, 2 diet cokes and 2 coffees. Total bill was $90 before gratuity.
                    I felt the same way I do when I go to Vivace (a sister restaurant for these owners)...like I'd had a high-quality dining experience for a medium-price. Great value for the dollar. Excellent service, by the way. This staff is taught well. I can't wait to go back and try more menu items!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: raleighchow
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                      mikeh RE: raleighchow Jul 15, 2009 02:52 PM

                      see below

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                      bbqme RE: fwbeach Jul 15, 2009 09:03 AM

                      Finally made the trek from Chapel Hill to see what the fuss was all about. We were impressed by the attractiveness of the restuarant. Definitely had a brasserie feel to it from the indoor/outdoor environment. The service was very good, attentive without being overbearing. We started off by sharing a tarte of carmelized onion and gruyere cheese that was very tasty. We are not big drinkers so I appreciated the 10 oz. pours of beers from the tap. The Begian ale that I tried was perfect for the weather and tart. It was served too chilled because the beer really open up in flavor after it warmed up some.

                      My wife got the roasted beet and roquefort salad and the housemade gnoicchi with seafood in a cream sauce as her entrees and I got the steak frites. The frites were cut shoestring and fried perfectly like I like them. I was a little disappointed in the steak, however. I ordered it medium rare and it came out medium-- perhaps pushing medium well. The cut was flatiron so the overcooking lead to some chewiness. A place billing itself a brasserie should not be making such a basic mistake, especially after being in business for awhile. I have had better steak frites at Vin Rouge (Durham) and flatiron steak cooked perfectly at Jujube (Chapel Hill) so Coquette didn't measure up here. My wife's salad was mostly lettuce with a few cubes of the roasted beets so the menu descritpion seemed duplicitious on this item. The gnoicchi dish on the other hand was delicious. The pasta was tender, lots of seafood, and the cream sauce was loaded with seafood flavor. Big thumbs up on this dish. We shared a piece of chocolate ganache tart with toasted hazelnuts. For $7 for a smallish wedge I would recommend passing on this dessert. Maybe the other choice I was wavering between, the ubequitous creme brulee, would have been better.

                      The bill was quite fair for the experience we had. I don't know if we would make the drive specifically to eat at Coquette again but if we are in the area we will definitely eat here again.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: bbqme
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                        mikeh RE: bbqme Jul 15, 2009 02:53 PM

                        how does it compare to Rue Cler or Vin Rouge?

                        1. re: mikeh
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                          bbqme RE: mikeh Jul 16, 2009 08:29 AM

                          Foodwise I would say the latter two are at least Coquette's equal and their prices are a little lower. Atmospheres are very different. The two Durham bistros have a small, intimate feel where one might take a date whereas Coquette has a large, open feel where one might want to dine with a group of friends.

                        2. re: bbqme
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                          burgeoningfoodie RE: bbqme Jul 16, 2009 11:49 AM

                          Glad to hear your report. My gf and I went during restaurant week as she had chosen Six Plates and so my choice was Coquette. Unfortunately, it seems like a distant memory and I can't recall what I had although it was on the specials menu. She had the Coq Au Vin and we both shared had desserts.. she had the profiteroles and I had the claufoutis. We both enjoyed our meals and the desserts and the design was quite different that most other restaurants. I won't make a special trip there but it is a restaurant we will keep in mind for when we go tot Raleigh and want a nice casual dinner .. maybe before a show somewhere.

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