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Reading the reviews, it seems the first visit was well received and the second was much less so. I went just once and that was enough. I think five of us generally panned the place second time around. But I did not recall the place at all until you mentioned it,

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Maybe they just looked at your pictures and decided not to go?

Or it may mean that the board is biased because of features unrelated to the food*. There's nothing wrong with such a bias because we know restaurants are not about food, but Wilfrid and Instagram tog

On Eater's 7/9 Journal, Patty Diez provides this short review about Le Coucou:

 

Dinner here last week was something special. The room is stunning but not at all intimidating, and the staff moves so elegantly, you feel instantly at ease. For a brand new restaurant, they have seemingly nailed their timing and coursing. All the food ranged from good to really great. A highlight was the poached egg with salmon and artichoke, though the server did not care for my likening the dish to eggs Benedict. The duck with cherries was delicious and I could have had three more of the summer scallops, but a few dishes leaned on the heavier side, leaving me without dessert.

 

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On Eater's 7/9 Journal, Patty Diez provides this short review about Le Coucou:

 

Dinner here last week was something special. The room is stunning but not at all intimidating, and the staff moves so elegantly, you feel instantly at ease. For a brand new restaurant, they have seemingly nailed their timing and coursing. All the food ranged from good to really great. A highlight was the poached egg with salmon and artichoke, though the server did not care for my likening the dish to eggs Benedict. The duck with cherries was delicious and I could have had three more of the summer scallops, but a few dishes leaned on the heavier side, leaving me without dessert.

 

I think this further demonstrates my point that the environment at Le Coucou is something a bit special – maybe not novel in absolute terms, but certainly a significant draw for that restaurant in the context of dining in New York circa mid-2016.

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Putting aside the rabbit, I think I've figured out the reason for the disjunction between Wilf's view of this place and that of others of us.

 

I think it comes down to taion's observation that Le Coucou is so usable. I think most of us reacted very favorably to a restaurant that serves very good versions of a kind of food we like, in socially comfortable surroundings that nevertheless provide a level of service and physical comfort that casual restaurants in New York have unfortunately abandoned.

 

Wilf, OTOH, appears to have expected a "great" restaurant. But nobody is claiming Le Coucou is "great" in the Michelin sense. Just a very very good, very "usable" one. ("Stunningly" good in the context of what it is.) I mean, come on, Le Philosophe wasn't in the same universe as this. And I'd be surprised if the food at L'Express were anywhere near as good as the food here -- but it's been ages since I've been and I'll have to go back. Maybe I'm missing out on what ought to be a favorite. It'll never have the decor and service, though.

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