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Sep 26, 2012 11:40 AM

Coq Rico, Westerman in Montmartre

3 of us had a great meal today at Westerman’s Coq’Rico in the heart of Montmartre, wading through two different walking tours to gain entrance to the restaurant, as it is directly across the street from the Moulin de la Galette and the Passe-Muraille which we all have photos of somewhere. We were the 1st to arrive so had the opportunity to inspect the premises which are divided into three sections; the main seating area, to the right, counter seating in front of the rotisserie and a room in the back with one large table in front of the wine storage which would be fine for a large group. The place filled up by the time our bird was served, but the noise level never got uncomfortable.

There is a very reasonable daily special for each day of the week and today it was chicken sausage which I am reasonably sure would be delicious, but I don’t go to dine with M. Westerman to eat chicken sausage. Instead there was a whole Bresse chicken on offer for three or four people done before your eyes on the rotisserie for a little over €90 which comes with sides of frites (fine ones) and a gratin of macaroni that was light years better than Kraft’s mac & cheese and a green salad. I have read countless treatises on how different species of chicken should be cooked and some experts in chickenology state that Bresse birds do not lend themselves well to roasting, but I don’t know how any bird could come out with anymore beautifully golden crunchy skin and moist breast meat than this one…the chef knows his way around a rotisserie. It is presented whole then cut into sections for serving with a cup of the jus for good measure. I would have dipped my bread in it except the butter served was too excellent to leave unused. The three of us left nothing but bones.

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  1. Thanks for this. Once again it seems to come down to technique, technique, technique.

    1. I'm glad you had a good time because despite the bloggers' good reviews (Guilty as charged) it doesn't get a lot of press. I thought it was a solid 5.5/10 in February but it was like climbing K2 in a blizzard. Thanks for reminding us.

      3 Replies
      1. re: John Talbott

        Can you translate your blizzard clause, please?

        1. re: mangeur

          You don't recall my tale? I'm not allowed to give you the link Margaret so you'll have to find it on your own.

          1. re: John Talbott

            Must be this:
            Except it mentions Everest and not K2, mais bon.

      2. They seem to have improved their technique since I first tried the place, where the only tasty dish was the cream of chicken soup.

        It did not take me long to understand why: they described to me their technique for producing roasted chicken. They simmered it for a fairly long time (forgot how long, like 2 or 3 hours) in low-temperature water. Then they roasted it until crispy. Seemed to do the job for texture, but the bird was absolutely tasteless. Of course it was. Low-temperature simmering is the most powerful taste extraction method for meats and poultries (and everything else I believe), so all the flavor had gone into the broth. A broth that served as a base for their fantastic cream of chicken soup. I told them frankly what I thought of that, but they greeted my remarks with blissful indifference. They were dead sure that their method was the best possible.

        So if the chicken was tasty, maybe they revised the methodology a wee bit.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ptipois

          This belongs under the "you gotta be kidding" banner. Mightn't they just use a different bird?

          1. re: mangeur

            I remember the "early" birds as well-seasoned but very dry, which is an original sin for bird cooking and would point to overcooking.
            But if Laidback says it's good, I will give it another try.

            I miss the old Divette, before Roc Rico, before the failed celeb hangout, when it was a local Montmartrois estaminet serving a mean couscous. The statuesque Norman waitress thought I did not have enough poundage for her taste and liked to stand next to me to watch me eat.
            I even remember seeing Jean Marais holding court there, literally in another century.

          2. re: Ptipois

            Just wondering because I will always bow to your expertise, but would a long simmered chicken still look like a raw fresh chicken, which is what we were shown before watching it placed on the rotisserie? The three of us, though amateur diners, thought the flavor was pretty darned good. Perhaps your professional input caused them to reconsider their approach. Unfortunately, I didn't photograph it in the raw state but this poor photo shows it just a few minutes after being placed on the rotisserie.

            1. re: Laidback

              Well, if you saw the raw chicken being placed on the rotisserie, it seems evident that they did not poach it, let alone simmer it. Therefore I believe it was spared that horrid treatment and was in a better position to taste like normal roast chicken.