Owners, Chef Michael Stolzfus and Lillian Hubbard make it that way. They are a couple, and Coquette is their baby.
Coquette is located in a great corner building in The Irish Channel, on Magazine Street at the corner of Washington Ave.
The renovation is so spectacular, with exposed brick, crystal chandeliers, a fabulous wood bar, gas lights outside, just every detail perfect.
It was once a rundown car parts store, and has been several restaurants since its renovation in 2004.
First it was a Surf and Turf place that was over priced and under whelming and it closed within months. Then it was a place called Table One that was an oasis after Katrina, one of the first places that opened. I celebrated my birthday there. Table One closed too, the food never being able to live up to the fabulous space.
There was one more restaurant in the space before Coquette, an Asian place that added zebra carpeting and fake orchids everywhere. It was awful!!!
Finally, the handiwork of chef Mike Stoltzfus and Lillian Hubbard broke the spell of the address known for housing short-lived restaurants despite the fact that the property is totally gorgeous.
Chef Mike moved to New Orleans from the eastern shore of Maryland a little over two years ago. He was a sous chef at Restaurant August (John Besh's posh place) when he decided to open Coquette down the street from Commander's Palace. Lily runs Coquette's front of the house.
They are part of a crop of young talent settling in post Katrina New Orleans, eager to be a part of the fabulous rebirth that is happening, part of the "new nola STYLE".
Coquette makes good on the casual demeanor suggested by the terms Bistro and Wine Bar. Denim isn't likely to raise anyone's eyebrows, and the cool and friendly and knowledgeable waitstaff can read tables well enough to know when it's safe to break into informal conversation.
The restaurant is undeniably elegant. Housed in a 19th century building restored to its original brick and wood splendor, the restaurant's main dining room fits a single row of tables next to a long bar inside a narrow footprint. The close quarters fosters intimacy, but there's also grandeur in the setting, much of it overhead: soaring ceilings, custom chandeliers and rich dark woodwork. There is an attractive second-story dining room as well (we'd love to have a tango party there!).Personally I dine there as often as I can. We take out-of-town guests too. Recently Marcy Blum, super eventista with a celeb ladden client roster, was our guest.
She thought the bartenders were the most skilled and clever mixologists she has seen anywhere. And Marcy could not stop raving about the food and the service, no faint praise since she dines regularly at the top restaurants in New York. She also offered to do Mike and Lily's wedding when the times comes, which made Mike blush and Lily smile.
I am starting an irregular regular bloggers luncheon to be held at Coquette. I got the idea from the Houston bloggers!
The first one is going to be on Thursday May 6 in honor of Laura Casey being in town and hoping Laura Ingalls Gunn and Fifi Flowers will be here too.
New Orleans bloggers Jessie from The Gimlet Eye, Mitchell from Optimism and White Paint, Caroline from perch., Julie from The Bayou Contessa, Nathan from Laurel Street, Amanda Talley from The Big Easy Life, Jessica from Black.White.Yellow, Beki from Artsy Crafty Babe, and Bryan and Tom from Hazelnut have all been invited.
If you want to come just let me know, and we'll add a place for you.
Alberto often comes to pick me up from work with Cholo. We usually stop at Coquette and sit outside for a cocktail before walking home. Wednesday is when Coquette runs a wine s special, and Thursday is the night for any specialty cocktail made for you at a bargain price.