Jun 6, 201309:42 AM
Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene
Champagne and Fried Chicken at Coquette
Does champagne with fried chicken seem incongruous to you? I've long since given up the idea that champagne is merely for toasting, and I've had champagnes and other sparkling wines with all manner of food over the years, but there's something about pairing that wine with fried chicken that just seems odd.
It's probably the juxtaposition of a perceived luxury – champagne – with a perceived peasant food – chicken – that throws me off. That's true even though I know that fried chicken has not, traditionally, been a food of the masses. It wasn't until we applied industrial methods to the production of chickens that the birds – particularly the young birds necessary for frying – were cheap enough that “a chicken in every pot” became more than an aspirational slogan. The same holds true for the oil or fat required to do the frying; it's relatively cheap these days, but that's a fairly recent development.
These days we can pull into a Popeyes and leave in 10 minutes with several chickens worth of meat in paper bags, because all of the fast-food chicken joints use pressure-fryers to cook their birds. It's worth remembering that fried chicken was once a luxury.
In that context, I thought I'd share a release I received about a dinner that Mike Stoltzfus is hosting at Coquette on Tuesday, June 25, in which he will pair champagne with, among other things, fried chicken. Here are the relevant portions of the announcement:
The festivities will begin at the Garden District restaurant at 6:30 p.m. with a reception featuring housemade punch and a selection of passed hors d'oeuvres. At 7 p.m., attendees will be seated in a fun, family style setting as they enjoy a selection of traditional and smoked Fried Chicken. Each table will be served a variety of time-honored southern side dishes including collard greens, red beans, housemade pickles and cole slaw, as well as Southern dishes with a modern twist, watermelon and sea bean salad and pimento cheese deviled eggs. Tiffany Haleaumau, Coquette’s General Manager and wine expert, has chosen several Champagnes that perfectly compliment Chef Stoltzfus’ Fried Chicken, including Jean-Noel Haton Brut Classic NV, Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs NV, and J Dumangin Fils Brut Rose 1er Cru, Chigney Les Roses. To conclude this spectacular evening, Coquette’s acclaimed Pastry Chef, Zak Miller will create a luscious Southern inspired dessert display, accompanied by a delicious Champagne cocktail.
The fried chicken/champagne dinner (which costs $80, including tax and tip) is the first in a series of private dinners to be held at Coquette on the last Tuesday of each month. Like the fried chicken and champagne event, you need to buy tickets in advance to attend. It's a smart move. A lot of restaurants lose significant business on folks who make reservations, but don't show. Selling tickets in advance removes that problem from the equation.
It's extremely unlikely I'll be able to attend the fried chicken and champagne event at Coquette, because I turn into a pumpkin at sunset, but I'd really love to hear from anyone who does go. Coquette is one of the best restaurants in New Orleans, and I wish to hell I could eat Stoltzfus's fried chicken while drinking champagne.
If you're interested in learning more, you can check out the restaurant's website or call (504) 265-0421.