If you’re looking for a hidden gem in the New Orleans restaurant industry, head over to Coquette on Magazine St at Washington Ave in the Irish Channel, just a few blocks from famed local restaurant Commander’s Palace. The restaurant is housed in a building notorious for its short-lived businesses’ comings and goings, but with a stellar chef, menu and service, it is doubtful that Coquette will be going anywhere.
Having moved to New Orleans from the eastern shore of Maryland about two years ago, chef Mike Stoltzfus began as a sous chef at Restaurant August before deciding to open up his own fine dining establishment. He dedicates himself to the finest food, cocktails and ingredients, and that dedication shows in Coquette’s high ratings across the board, both locally and nationally.
With a short menu that changes daily, it can be difficult to describe. A dish you love one day might be gone the next all depending on the ingredients available and whims of the chefs in the kitchen. As an example, a Christmas Eve dining experience included appetizers like a delectable oyster and Andouille stew we couldn’t help but mop up with the crisp and delicious fresh bread and a raw tuna dish with heavenly notes of a light citrus dressing in the salad mixed therein.
For main courses, our table ordered the ribeye steak, cooked to perfection and served with a unique blend of salad components including a nice spice from some chopped jalapenos. The other course was a decadent red snapper with delicately crispy skin atop the moist texture of the fish with a buttermilk dressing that was to die for.
Finally the dessert courses included apple fritters with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and a dab of salted caramel as well as a chocolate mousse cake with a serving of peanut butter ice cream. And this is just a taste of what you can expect from Coquette and chef Mike Stoltzfus on a daily basis.
In addition to its standard dinner menu, the restaurant is also open for lunch, happy hour and Sunday brunch. Coquette’s $20 three-course lunch special is truly a steal, and the bartenders serve up arguably some of the best cocktails in the city. The $25 three-course brunch is another amazing special that locals and tourists love.
The restaurant has a casual but elegant feel in its two-story building, and you’ll have a comfortable and fun experience with a fine staff of waiters who are enthusiastic about the menu and always ready to give informed suggestions.
Between the food, service, location and feel of the restaurant, Coquette is a fantastic choice for fine dining in New Orleans.