Adam Erace's review of the bistro Coquette left me a bit puzzled about what I could expect to find on the bar menu at this traditionally French establishment.
We had been deliberately avoiding the place after I heard rumors about the inconsistencies in the food coming out of the kitchen since they had acquired a new chef...the French-Thai fusion was a manageable combination that apparently wasn't producing any meaningful results.
However, when I saw this story about the new new chef and the addition of some latin-focused cuisine, I figured that it couldn't hurt to try out some small bites and test the waters.
On a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon we grabbed a table outside and ordered up a few dishes outside the French spectrum.
Elizabeth ordered the Gazpacho with Shrimp; this huge bowl, at $4, was a perfect savory selection to cool down with.
The chilled tomato broth was slightly spiced and the chilled, chopped shrimp helped give a refreshing sea-breeze character to the soup. The crispy fried strips of tortilla and diced pineapple bits helped to give a crunchy & crisp character to the soup that complimented the latin spices hanging around the edges of the gazpacho's flavor profile.
The Mexican Albondigas were the fire to the Shrimp Gazpacho's ice...at $2.50, these were great snacks, packed with heat and very filling. The sauce contained a noticeable amount of adobo pepper...giving these meatballs a one-two punch of smoky heat. The meat itself was mixed with rice and some diced veg & herbs. If it hadn't been for the fact that I was drinking a French lager I would've thought we were eating at a latin tapas bar.
OK, this is what hooked me...the PW article had a photo highlight of the roasted, spiced corn. Served with a spicy mayonnaise, cheese and lemon, the corn was a perfect summer snack. It wasn't as 'grilled' as the PW picture suggested, but my spice-stained fingers were proof enough that the new latin approach to Coquette's bar snacks is a welcome addition to the happy hour offerings around South St.