Occupation: Digital Media Consultant
Location: San Francisco
Favorite Restaurant: Cocotte
Reviewed Cocotte: Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Cocotte is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, starting with the ambiance. Cocotte means ‘small fireproof dish in which individual portions of food are cooked and served.’ The restaurant continues this theme as it serves many dishes and sides in little cocottes. The restaurant looks and feels like you’re in France dining in someone’s small cottage. It’s a smaller space with dim lighting, exposed brick, a little nook for 2 people, a bar to sip a glass of wine, and to top it off an exposed kitchen where you can see Chef and all the magic at work. The service is very friendly and knowledgeable about ingredients, flavors and the wine list – always offering suggestions. It’s a very welcoming atmosphere that makes you feel like you just need to relax and enjoy because you are taken care of.
Each dish tastes like a French mother is walking into a garden to pick fresh, organic ingredients and cook them up. They welcome you with amazing warm french bread and a homemade olive tapenade which you can enjoy with a glass of French wine. The portions are not very large but enough to share a variety of dishes. I highly recommend the Coq au Vin, which is truly authentic, and the Cauliflower Gratin, which is creamy-heaven in a spoon! Their menu items change often so be sure to try dishes like New York Strip Steak or Sea Bass when it’s on the menu. Their wine list contains a mix of French and other wines and is not overwhelming but the service staff is very accommodating in helping you pick the right one. Overall, a great choice for a romantic night out or dinner with friends that will not break the bank. The staff is really friendly and warm (as is the atmosphere) and the food makes you feel comforted. Just make sure to take a taxi as the parking situation on Hyde Street is not good.
Occupation: School Superintendent
Favorite Restaurant: Hana Japanese Restaurant
Reviewed Cocotte: Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Cocotte is a wonderful oasis of culture and fine French cuisine—that is—if you are lucky enough to procure a parking spot anywhere in the same zip code. Cute and cozy (roughly twenty small tables and a bar with seating for six), the European influence is all around you. Cement walls with textured amber paint, stainless steel, and indirect lighting gives it an elegant yet rustic appeal. One tiny little nook complete with pull back curtains carved out a special area with room for one couple. Although very quiet and empty when we arrived at 6:00 in the evening on a week night, the cosmopolitan crowd filed in, to the point that this little hamlet was nearly full when we left at 7:30.
The food was amazing! After the struggle with the parking, we wondered if it would be worth the hassle. The three of us enjoyed sharing a sampling of starters, side dishes, main courses and one dessert that left us all in agreement that it was worth the time it took to find a parking spot.
From the light, perfectly done Lobster Salad to the well-spiced Shishito Peppers (recommended by our waiter), and then the sweet, warm Mussels Mariniere, the starters were a wonderful introduction to the restaurant. Main dishes ranged from the juicy, butcher cut New York to a nearly perfect Coq au Vin. In addition, one of us wanted the Scallops, but did not wish to venture into the unchartered territory of the accompanying “squid ink.” The waiter (and chef) worked with her to provide a delicious bed of savory vegetables to serve as a soft landing for the rich texture of the well-prepared scallops.
The side dishes of Brussels Sprouts and Potato and Goat Cheese Gratin were as good as it gets. Even though stuffed, the three of us did manage to enjoy and share a fantastic Banana Crème Brulee to complete the evening.
Occupation: Forensic Mental Health Therapist
Favorite Restaurant: Sakoon Restaurant
Reviewed Cocotte: Thursday, December 26, 2013
Before the food hit the table, I was thinking this was a rustic French restaurant with thick, rich, heavy sauces and small portions of protein. The food is more like French cuisine with a California style rather than rustic French.
The Lobster Salad and Lapin Mourtarde (rabbit with mustard) were delicious. I especially enjoyed the Lobster salad, which tasted bright and creamy with ricotta cheese on top. The bits of lobster were briny and went well with the sweet corn as well as the peppery arugula. The Lapin was also good; shredded pieces of rabbit in a light mustard sauce with pan fried gnocchi. The entrees came out on many small dishes. The Rotisserie Chicken was accompanied by 2 sauces and a dish of potato gratin. The sauces were a brown butter mushroom and gremolata. The mushroom sauce went well with the chicken, and the gremolata tasted strong and herbaceous. The chicken itself was nicely seasoned and cooked perfectly. We moved on to the Lamb Shank, which was a special not on their regular menu. The shank was sitting in a pool of a red wine reduction sauce and the portion seemed generous. At the end of the platter was a pan crusted polenta cake, which was light and buttery. The glass of Bordeaux went really well with the lamb. The shank was braised nicely, but didn’t seem seasoned enough. The flavors went well together, but the meat seemed to lack salt. For dessert we shared the Banana Crème Brulee. The custard was lightly vanilla flavored with slices of banana on top. The layer of caramelized sugar was perfect.
The menu is small. The dining room is small as are the tables, which barely held all the plates for our entrees. Consequently I would not recommend going with a large party. I would recommend Cocotte and return if I were in the area, but at this moment I feel the urge to explore different French cuisine, and I owe that to Cocotte.