Saturday, September 17, 2011

Le Coq Rouge

The day before my birthday, a card arrived in the mail from my dad and stepmom by way of Le Coq Rouge, a French restaurant in Boise. Knowing how much Jeff and I love French cuisine, they had arranged for a gift certificate so that we could enjoy a Parisian getaway. I had already done a little research to see what Boise had to offer in terms of French food, and after reading the amazing reviews for Le Coq Rouge, I couldn't wait to spend an evening there. I quickly made a reservation for Friday night and daydreamed about frites and vin for the rest of the afternoon.

Le Coq Rouge doesn't have a website and the menu changes daily, dependent on what the chef wants to prepare. Because of this, an early reservation ensures that you won't miss out on any of the offerings. We arrived at 6:00 p.m. and were immediately greeted by a French waiter who showed us to our reserved table and gave us a few moments to peruse the wine list and make our selections. The restaurant is full of character, with old movie posters lining the walls, chandeliers and hanging lights, and lots of color, and it was fun to take it all in while seated at our red checker clothed table.

Our view

The pinot grigio I chose was delicious, light, and dry. Jeff's pinot noir was full bodied and had a spicy kick to it. Best of all, the prices weren't outrageous and the pouring hand was heavy. After starting our wine, the waiter brought over the chalkboard I'd read so much about - daily appetizers and entrees written in chalk to be described in detail by the staff. His explanations were thorough, though it was hard to remember the details of the 11 entrees after he left!

The menu
We started with the well reviewed raviolis aux truffles (truffle ravioli) and coquilles (scallops). The raviolis, while delicious, were a little plain in taste and were dominated by the incredible butter and balsamic sauce that covered the plate. I could have dipped bread in that sauce all night! The scallops were divine, served in their shells with a crunchy cheese, cream, and pesto sauce. I would die for a dinner portion of those.

Ravioli aux truffles

The flow of the meal was perfect if you're in the mood for a slow pace. We had placed our entree orders with the appetizers, but had about 10 minutes to digest before they arrived. I ordered the porc gorgonzola and Jeff ordered the boeuf forestier, neither of which we knew much about but all I need to hear is pork medallions or ribeye steak to know that I'll be a satisfied customer. Mine came covered in a rich, creamy sauce with a serious dose of gorgonzola cheese and pasta. The pork was tender and perfectly cooked. Jeff's plate was very well rounded, with a healthy portion of carrots and asparagus, a potato cake, a roasted tomato with cheese and pesto, and sliced steak and mushrooms in a heavenly, dark sauce. Both were wonderful but they weren't kidding around with the portions. I got through a third of my pork and barely made a dent in the pasta before throwing in the towel, but knowing those leftovers are waiting in my fridge makes me very happy indeed.

You had me at gorgonzola...
Colorful plate

We certainly didn't have room for dessert, but I had to try something and ordered the chocolate mousse cake, a personal favorite. I had never had chocolate mousse quite like this - it had a sort of shortbread crust and the mousse was less pudding and much more crumble, with a texture like dried ice cream (for all you Planetarium visitors out there). While I wasn't crazy about the density, the flavor was rich and it hit the spot.

Chocolate heaven

Overall, it was an incredible dining experience. While expensive, the food was delicious, the ambiance was eclectic, comfortable, and laid back, and everyone around us seemed to be having equally delightful evenings. I like that you never know what to expect when dining at Le Coq Rouge, and I look forward to enjoying the surprises on future visits to France.

Full and happy, thanks D&B!


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