Saturday, July 19, 2014

Brunch in the City - Chef Michael Chiarello's Coqueta

Coqueta - SignDinah, Karen and I finally went to Coqueta. We had originally planned to go there a year ago but the date changed and then it was cancelled. On our third try, it finally happened. Third time's the charm!

We were celebrating Karen's birthday this time. The weather nice, the company great and our dining experience at Coqueta wonderful! Happy Birthday Karen!

Coqueta is a newish restaurant on Embarcadero and it is part of Chef Michael Chiarello's list of popular restaurants. Judging from the comment that I've heard, this place is wildly popular and one should allow at least a month to get a table reserved. Dinah, however, was able to reserve a table for three for Karen's birthday. I am always amazed how she can do that.

I arrived a few minutes earlier than the two of them so I had time to snap pictures. This is the door that leads to the awesome goodness that was about to happen that morning.
Coqueta - Door

We had an 11:45am reservation but the restaurant already had this hustle and bustle feel. I love the high ceilings and a combination of rustic and urban chic design. The walls are decorated with hides. Our high chairs are made of leather.
Coqueta - Crowd

And now the menu. I usually look at the menu online the night before when I go to a new restaurant just so that I am a little familiar with the food.  I must admit I didn't study for this event just because I trust both Karen and Dinah's food choices. In short, I am in good hands when dining with these two.
Coqueta - Menu

First order was sangria. Not your typical sangria inundated with chopped fruits. This one was minimalist and came only with a few blueberries and grapes.  The taste was good and well balanced. Not too sweet, not too alcoholic. It came in this uniquely shaped carafe with a tiny nozzle. The water tumblers are hand-hammered to give texture.
Coqueta - Sangria

Here comes the tray of pintxos or bite-sized goodies. 
Coqueta - Pintxos

They are five different items and our super attentive server Asya (spelling) eloquently described each one to us. We decided to get one of each.   She also mentioned that the tastes vary so much and she suggested sampling them from the ones with mild tastes first and then work our way to the ones with super savory flavors.
Coqueta - Pintxos plate

This one is called Sunny Side up Huevo. It came with shrimp, crispy potatoes and chorizo dressing. Ok, I am salvating while writing this! This dish was very tasty. All I can say is that people are so smart! How can they put these flavors together and know they will taste great together?
Coqueta - Huevo

This is their Croquetas de Pollo. This one had crunchy outside crust and tasty creamy fillings. I just didn't know if we had to eat the orange wedges together with the croquetas or after?
Coqueta - Croquetas

The next plate is called Pulpo a la Parilla. This one is easily one of the best octopus I've had. It was very tender. By this time, a goodlooking fellow with beautiful eyes, Mr. Brooks, came by our table and asked if everything was fine. Obviously, we were having more than just a fine time. We were overly enjoying this octopus. He mentioned that this octopus was made tender by putting them inside the washing machine. The pounding action of the water inside the washer made the pulpo extra tender. Muy interesante!
Coqueta - Pulpo

We were making the pulpo linger by eating it extra slow. It came with potatoes 
Coqueta - Pulpo plate

Next is the albondigas. I am used to albondigas with sauce but this one didn't come with sauce. It looked like the sauce was reduced so the taste was concentrated in the duck and pork meatball. It was very good!
Coqueta - Albondigas

The final dish was this paella. It was so good! We couldn't finish it because we got full. I took it home so Mijo can sample it. He gave it two thumbs up!
Coqueta - Paella

The paella came with these condiments - aoli and green chillies.
Coqueta - Condiments

For dessert, we shared this decadent flan topped with black currant (?) caramel and served with cinnamon twists and golden chocolate rectangular plaque that says 'feliz compeanos'.
Coqueta - Flan

Coqueta also gave us these ultra creamy caramel covered cheesecake pops as a birthday treat. Thank you so much Coqueta! Did you also notice the picks? Such attention to detail!
Coqueta - Cremecheese pops

Coqueta - Americano

Happy Birthday my dear Karen!
Coqueta - Toast

This is what their bar looks like. There was a point during our brunch when I saw the barrista from where we were seating and he was making this special cocktail with dense fog coming out of the shaker. We will definitely come back to try their cocktails and more dishes. 
Coqueta - Bar

Coqueta is located on Embarcadero St. near San Francisco's Ferry Building.


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