September is the month for Orlando Magical Dining, where one gets the opportunity to try new restaurants in a fine dining establishment without breaking your bank. You can find the details at http://www.visitorlando.com/magicaldining/restaurants/.
My first pick naturally was Le Coq au Vin (French cuisine is my indulgence). Sketchy location opens the doors to a modest elegant and romantic ambiance most reminiscent of French eateries in small picturesque towns of the country, I so fondly remember. If I could just block the noise level, the ambiance and aromas would surely transport me to the sun-kissed sunflower fields of the French country side, I to date cherish.
Since I had researched the menus online I noticed that the Beef Bourguignon seemed missing from the printed menu at the restaurant. Our server promptly exchanged notes from the kitchen and offered to make the dish for us, if we so desired. Thank you! It was generous of them to adapt to this delicate situation.
For the first course we ordered Onion Tart and French Onion Soup. The tart appeared to be placed on a puff pastry loaded with bacon (American Style) rather than the classic buttery crust, the French are so well-known for. I felt cheated! It was the base for both the Onion Tart and Apple tart for dessert. Not to mention the odd scone shaped, under baked pastry on top of the Boeuf Bourguignon. It was totally unnecessary especially as the dish was dressed with egg noodles.
The French Onion Soup on the other hand was outstandingly brimming in deep flavors. One couldn’t get enough of it.
Being a lover of everything French – I couldn’t resist ordering my favorites – Chicken Pate (house made) and Blood Sausage. The Pate’ was delicate and served warm at Le Coq au Vin. I have to confess I was a bit confused with the lettuce, raw onions, and tomato accompanying the Pate’, as if they were thrown together as an afterthought? The tomato’s turned out to be fresh tomato jam, lightly flavored. Brioche might have been a finer choice as a vessel for the Pate’ rather than the crusty bread, lightly toasted.
The blood sausage was perhaps the best I have had in Florida. Don’t be afraid to try this dish because of its name. You might just be surprised as to how much you enjoy it.
Our entrees were Boeuf Bourguignon and Coq au Vin. I expected the Coq au Vin to triumph in taste especially since the restaurant boasts its name to this dish. It was presented well however tasted a tad on the drier side.
Beef Bourguignon, truly a labor of love was cooked tender to perfection; it lacked that oomph factor which I am accustomed too. It seemed to be missing something? Thankfully, I lightly salt my food otherwise I would have remarked that the chef in fact forgot to add Salt and Pepper to his meals that day.
To end our meal, we ordered the Apple Tart and the classic Crepes Suzette. To my disappointment, I saw the same puff pastry crust appear on the apple tart. The Crepes were delicate, light, and dressed with a tangy orange sauce.
It is fair to say that our appetizers were the star shiners of our meal. The staff was professional and courteous. Interestingly enough, most of them were young American graduates.
Somehow I pictured the chef walking in to the dining room, entertaining the patrons by indulging us in passionate talks about French food. I was so hoping to have the opportunity to discuss my love for French cuisine.
Over all, Le Coq au Vin is a befitting start if you are looking to open your palate to French cuisine. The extensive menu boasts classic country-style French Cuisine and carries a notable wine list too. Do stop by to relish in the finer tastes, French cuisine has to offer.