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Cochon Noir reports?

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rumorsofsurf Jul 7, 2010 06:58 AM

I have some friends coming in town for the Furthur show at the Mann on Saturday and was wondering if anyone had been to the newly opened Cochon Noir - http://lecochonnoir.com/. Recommend it as a pre-show spot?

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    phillyjazz Oct 9, 2010 07:09 AM

    I went last night and had the ribs which were, as usual, spectacular. St. Louis cuts are designed to be uniform, but these were cut with laser-like precision. I don;t know how they do that, but the $15 1/3 rack comes as four meaty bones with a little BBQ sauce artfully drizzled on the plate. LCN is trying to get Philly accustomed to the dry-rubbed Memphis-style variety. I have acquired a taste for them, but still have a pang for the sweet-spicy Kansas City sauce on the side, which they gracefully proved upon request.

    Sides are 8 bucks, but big enough to share. The Mac and Cheese was outstanding, and served piping hot, but more than I could finish.

    Word is they just got their liquor license approved, so when this place gets a bar scene, I suspect it will take off.

    The house band has figured out both the acoustics and set programming, and proved as adept at straight-ahead Cole Porter standards as more modern funk. Music is loud for a restaurant, but not for a Jazz club.

    They can handle parties of pretty much any size, and roll a full rack of ribs to your table side.

    The waitstaff are mostly charming Serbs (who remembered not only my name, but my wife's from a visit over a month ago. This has potential to be not only legendary barbecue, but a world-class Jazz joint that Philly desperately needs since the closing or Ortlieb's.

    3 Replies
    1. re: phillyjazz
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      barryg Oct 9, 2010 08:01 AM

      I finally checked out LCN on your recommendation. I agree that the ribs are excellent. We were disappointed that they were out of both the snapper sour and the collard (or were they mustard?) greens side dish. I ended up getting the seafood chowder, which was a nice and flavorful tomato broth but unfortunately served much closer to lukewarm than steaming. We got the asparagus instead of the greens, which were delicious though the portion was a bit small at $8.

      The prices are pretty high for the neighborhood--$15 for 1/3 rack of ribs, $30 for a full, both with no sides. Other entrees are all over $20 and a la carte. When the bar opens, I suspect it will be easy to rack up a large bill. But, considering there is live music and no cover charge, it's not bad for a night out. The kitchen was slow on our visit, but service overall was very good.

      I'm excited to check out the bar area when it opens. It looks like it has the potential to be roomy and comfortable, unlike Chris' downtown.

      I hope they can make it; live music restaurants don't have a good recent track record in Philly. The location and prices make it more of a special destination kind of place for people outside the neighborhood, and the prices seem too high to make it a hangout spot for those in the immediate neighborhood. For those living downtown without cars, it's pretty inaccessible because the area is too sketchy to take public transit or even bike around late at night IMO.

      1. re: barryg
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        phillyjazz Oct 9, 2010 10:40 AM

        I don't suspect they are trying to draw their audience from the local hood <g>. As far as the prices go, they seem pretty comparable to most other BBQ places (even the chains like Famous Dave's) except for the sides. I agree $8.00 is a pretty good whack for 'taters or Mac n' cheese. The portion I got last night was easily enough for two, so for the equivalent of $4.00 it was more reasonable,

        As far as live music joints are concerned, it is probably no more than Chris' once you factor in parking and a cover (which they may end up doing if they start bringing in some of the "A" list talent Chris' does.) I live in Bala Cynwyd, so it is a no-brainer for me vs. drinking and driving the Schuylkill. They could probably draw a decent crowd of well-heeled Main Liners since everyone now knows where the Lowes is ....

        -----
        Famous Dave's
        315 US Highway 206 Ste 502, Hillsborough, NJ 08844

        1. re: phillyjazz
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          barryg Oct 9, 2010 10:47 AM

          A full rack of ribs at Famous Dave's is like $22 and comes with sides. At Sweet Lucy's, a full rack w/o sides is around $20. Granted the St Louis cut that NCL uses is meatier than the baby backs that most of the chains use, but it's also cheaper per pound.

          I agree that the draw NCL needs and hopes for is probably the suburbs, Oak Lane, Mt Airy, Germantown. It's just a shame for those in the city, it'd be a great place to grab a drink if it was closer to downtown.

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      phillyjazz Jul 10, 2010 04:26 PM

      Probably the best ribs I've had outside of Memphis (and with white table cloth service to boot.) The bar is not finished yet, but they will give you a complimentary glass of wine (and you can BYOB until the bar is officially open.)

      So far, I've had the pork ribs (incredible meaty St. Louis cut.) A whole rack at $25 will give you a large second meal, and they heat up nicely in a toaster oven ...

      I never thought Prime Rib smoked was a good idea, but their version came out perfectly rare, tender and moist and the light smoky flavor was not overpowering.

      The one time I ordered the Korobuta chop, it was served well-done. I mentioned to the owner that he should give diners the option of ordering it pink, and I'm sure he will from now on. Perfectly grilled, but that is the Kobe of pork, and can't be served cooked well.

      I had lunch once, and ordered the pulled pork. Unlike the Carolina style, LCN's version is meat stripped off their ribs and served with a sweet KC-style sauce. The sauce (always served on the side with the dry-rubbed ribs) is reminiscent of Sweet Baby Ray's, which IMO is the king of bottled sauces, but with a bit more cayenne, so there is some bite.

      I smoke my own butts at home, so I don't mind a non-authentic pulled pork sammy, especially if it has crunchy bark in each bite, and they are detail-oriented enough to "scoop" the roll so the pork doesn't ooze out after the first bite. Lunch comes with superb parmesan potato wedges, crunchy outside and tender inside.

      For dinner, the sides are little pricey (like 8 bucks for mac and cheese) but these are "from scratch" versions, and killer. The snapper soup is also a very non-traditional, almost New-Orleans style tomato based version with a hint of heat, but plenty of meat and a bargain at $6.00. All my meals were served piping hot from the visible kitchen area.

      The owner had spent a lot of time in Vegas, and it shows. The Jazz acts can be unpredictable, but I think once the bar scene starts, that will even out.

      I have not had a bad bite of food there, and go back whenever I can, as I live a couple of miles away, and don't need to fight the Schuylkill. I might raise my rating to five once I see how the bar takes shape. I'm not sure when the time frame is.

      3 Replies
      1. re: phillyjazz
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        barryg Jul 11, 2010 03:09 PM

        Thanks phillyjazz. What kind of acts do they get there? OT, but it sounds like you might know: where is a chill spot to catch some real jazz now that Ortlieb's has closed? Fusion and edgy stuff is ok; would prefer to avoid bland vocal stuff. I like Chris' well enough, but can't really pop in there casually because of the cover and the bar gets so crowded.

        1. re: barryg
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          phillyjazz Jul 14, 2010 06:26 AM

          The "house band" is called the "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen." Good players, but very "busy" if you compare them to the more mature Philly cats. It is a cavernous industrial space, so there is a lot of echo, so not conducive to drums that are less-than subtle. There are also singers, and other local acts, and an 18-piece big band the last Thus of each month. Thurs is "sitting in" night and "Wed" is vocalist "sitting in" night.

          IMO, this is all a little premature without a bar there... I guess the carrying costs are such that the owner needs some "asses in seats." Their website should have a listing of the music calendar.

          1. re: barryg
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            phillyjazz Jul 14, 2010 06:28 AM

            BTW, the best places to catch REAL jazz right now are Grey Restaurant and Lounge, 132 Chestnut Street on Wednesdays. Also La Rose Sunday Jam sessions in Germantown.

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          barryg Jul 7, 2010 07:48 AM

          Do you know when they opened?

          1 Reply
          1. re: barryg
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            rumorsofsurf Jul 8, 2010 07:13 AM

            They opened at the beginning of June.

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