Chicago’s getting another French restaurant, but Coquette, which opened Tuesday in West Loop, isn’t a traditional bistro. It’s a playful lounge where owners promise free sips of wine and a soundtrack that will transport customers to Paris.
The team at Bonhomme Hospitality (Porto, Bordel, Beatnik) are travel obsessives and have managed to share the taste and flavors of Spain with Chicago, something that translates surprisingly well even in the dead of winter. Next door to Coquette, at Bambola — which opened in September — chefs Marcos Campos and Alisha Elenz serve food from various Asian countries along the Silk Road and present it through a Spanish lens.
Coquette is a 40-seater with a chef’s counter and plenty of colorful tiles on the floor and ceiling. While Bambola is dark and moody, its younger sibling is brash and bold. Bonhomme’s restaurants are filled with trinkets imported from Europe, and Coquette is no exception — there’s a display shelf in the corner that’s more than 100 years old.
The food, from chefs Erwin Mallet and Shannah Primiano — with an assist from Campos — reflects contemporary French cuisine cooking dry-aged beef and more over a live fire. Decadent dishes include a beef Wellington and crab royal with smoked King Crab and confit fennel.
The Michelin Guide awarded Sommelier of the Year to Bonhomme’s Colin Hofer this year. Hofer’s wine list doesn’t concentrate on classic French regions, as there’s a focus on so-called natural wines from areas including Alsace, Jura, Savoie, and the Languedoc. Also look for lots of Champagnes and bubbles.
Take a walk through the space and check out the food in the photos below.
Coquette, 165 N. Ogden Avenue, (312) 929-3448, open 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Tuesday through Saturday; 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday; brunch upcoming. Reservations via Resy.