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Le Coq Rico


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I had a dinner here tonight with friends that was, if anything, even better than my previous dinner here. (Meaning, Jesikka, get BACK here soon.)

 

I'll write up the food stuff as soon as I can. What's immediately interesting for us is the following exchange I had with Chef Westermann on my way out. Native English-speaker or not, he hedged his comments admirably. But I repeat them here because of their great possible interest -- for whatever they're worth.

 

ME: Chef, that was great. How long are you planning on staying in New York?

 

CHEF: I have come to love New York. I do not want to ever leave.

 

******************************************

We can only hope.

Anthony, one of the managers, told us that Westermann has an apartment here. That should give you hope....

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I had a dinner here tonight with friends that was, if anything, even better than my previous dinner here. (Meaning, Jesikka, get BACK here soon.)

 

I'll write up the food stuff as soon as I can. What's immediately interesting for us is the following exchange I had with Chef Westermann on my way out. Native English-speaker or not, he hedged his comments admirably. But I repeat them here because of their great possible interest -- for whatever they're worth.

 

ME: Chef, that was great. How long are you planning on staying in New York?

 

CHEF: I have come to love New York. I do not want to ever leave.

 

******************************************

We can only hope.

 

Looked at another way, wouldn't you think this food is the type of food that can be cooked well even if Westermann weren't around? Like, I don't this food would suffer much if he were to take a month or two off .

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Looked at another way, wouldn't you think this food is the type of food that can be cooked well even if Westermann weren't around? Like, I don't this food would suffer much if he were to take a month or two off .

 

Just about any restaurant is fairly likely to run off-track, once the founding leader is no longer there regularly. A month or two wouldn't be fatal, but if he were not a consistent presence, I'd bet on a decline.

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Isnt the goal of coq Rico to be a quasi-chain (that sounds harsh)? Like his Benoit or bouchon that can function very well without direct oversight?

 

That might be the goal, but as with most chains, something usually is lost with every pass through the Xerox machine.

 

Ducasse's Benoit is a rather unusual case: it took three chefs before the place finally hit its stride, and that chef (Philippe Bertineau) is here full-time. As far as I can tell, the NYC Benoit shares a name with two other Ducasse restaurants, but Bertineau is doing his own thing. Obviously, he stays within a recognizable style, but he's not trying to replicate the menu of someone who is absent.

 

But until Bertineau came along, Benoit was following the usual path of the second outpost of a quasi-chain; and indeed, the path of every other restaurant Ducasse has opened in New York.

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I just feel that less is lost when the focus of a restaurant is on a specific product. As long as that product remains the same, they shouldn't be able to fuck it up too much - even I can cook one of those birds deliciously at home.

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I just feel that less is lost when the focus of a restaurant is on a specific product. As long as that product remains the same, they shouldn't be able to fuck it up too much - even I can cook one of those birds deliciously at home.

 

What other examples of that principle do we have, other than steakhouses?

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Barbecue joints? Brazilian churrascarias?

 

MEAT, is what I'm getting at.

 

I've heard connoisseurs say that it does matter who is the pit-master at a barbecue place, and if the founder leaves, it makes a recognizable difference.

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Looked at another way, wouldn't you think this food is the type of food that can be cooked well even if Westermann weren't around? Like, I don't this food would suffer much if he were to take a month or two off .

 

Just about any restaurant is fairly likely to run off-track, once the founding leader is no longer there regularly. A month or two wouldn't be fatal, but if he were not a consistent presence, I'd bet on a decline.

 

 

We just came back from lunch at The Clocktower which we've been to many times since it opened. The food today was, as always, excellent. So, it's a good example of a restaurant that has not "run off-track" since its founding chef, Jason Atherton, stopped being there regularly. The chef de cuisine worked with him in London and, we've been told, Atherton comes back four times a year.

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I think what we have are counter examples rather than examples. Hence my statement: "I just feel..." It's an assumption by me, not a scientific statement that I wish to prove right now, while I'm having lunch at a Sietsema recommended Szechuan place.

 

As far as pit masters are concerned, they tend to be directly involved with the product (in a hands on way) whereas many chefs are willing to let others do the cooking.

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We just came back from lunch at The Clocktower which we've been to many times since it opened. The food today was, as always, excellent. So, it's a good example of a restaurant that has not "run off-track" since its founding chef, Jason Atherton, stopped being there regularly. The chef de cuisine worked with him in London and, we've been told, Atherton comes back four times a year.

 

I didn't say it has never ever happened, but the odds aren't in its favor. If Atherton has indeed pulled that off, then good for him. It doesn't happen very often.

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