Coquette Gets 2 Bells
Craig LaBan takes in Coquette, the star-crossed French bistro at the restaurant black hole of 5th and Bainbridge.
Coquette, it seems, has the classic aplomb – and timeless concept – to survive brushes with disaster like Pearl White in The Perils of Pauline. Like any good flirt (that’s “coquette” in French), Neff’s boite has the retro-Paris look down pat, from the hexagon-tiled floor, tin ceiling and ’30s lamps inside to the rattan cafe chairs that gaze out onto this boulevard stretch of Bainbridge Street.
The room pulses with the noisy energy of an authentic neighborhood bistro. And much of the young clientele on my final visit was even dressed for the part, one done up for date night in Marseilles sailor stripes and an anchor tattoo with a glass of lambic, another whose curly tresses were pinned high with a Moulin Rouge carnation.
The French bistro fare is served with just enough success (especially given the reasonable prices) by Jeremy Nolen, who was a sous-chef when the restaurant opened.
Two Bells – Very Good
Coquette Bistro & Raw Bar [Philadelphia Inquirer]