Here’s Your First Look at Coquette, Opening in Boston’s Seaport This Week
The stunning new restaurant, the latest from the team behind Yvonne's and others, takes lovely liberties with coastal French cuisine.
Blind dates can be fun. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to know exactly what you’re getting into. With that in mind, prepare to be smitten by your first glance at Coquette, a fun and flirty (and highly anticipated) hotspot opening Thursday in Boston’s Seaport.
Located on the ground floor of the new Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport, Coquette sits—cross-legged and sipping a martini, probably—right across the street from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, so she’s bound to prove a popular place for visiting professionals to meet for a nightcap before retreating to a room upstairs.
That said, this is also the latest addition to the expanding portfolio of COJE Management Group, the same team behind a handful of popular, vampy destinations for stylishly dining, drinking, and mingling in Boston (Yvonne’s, Mariel, Ruka, and Lolita). So expect Coquette’s stunning interior and mouthwatering menu, filled with riffs on coastal French cuisine, to similarly attract lots of locals looking for love at first sight and bite.
Inside the 240-seat restaurant, you’ll find a space swathed in a soft and elegant, pastel-leaning color palette of blues, pinks, and lavender. The walls have a slightly iridescent sheen, one that recalls the inside of a perfectly formed oyster shell, and there are dried, preserved flowers showcased in seasonal, installation-like arrangements designed by NYC-based East Olivia. Over the four-sided bar, meanwhile, a soundproofed ceiling is covered in a reproduction of The Apotheosis of Hercules by François Lemoyne, a rococo ceiling painting at Versailles famed for its gorgeous detail (as well as the tortured genius of the artist, who fell on his own sword shortly after).
Coquette isn’t prissy, though. In fact, in keeping with the general style of the COJE group, some of the Old Europe-inspired elements earn playful, contemporary twists from local artists like Erica Hagler of Fort Point’s Blind Fox Art, as well as Julia Purinton of Ipswich’s Medusa Studio. Paintings pop with surprises, such as the colorful high-top sneakers that appear in 17th century portraits; elsewhere, a Chanel handbag and magnum bottle of Champagne is toted by otherwise classical-seeming statues of the female form. Modern artistic flourish has also been added to the dining room’s mural, which is a recreation of Art Nouveau icon Alphonse Mucha’s The Seasons, a series of paintings of nymph-like ladies representing spring, summer, fall, and winter.
Here, under the glow of bright-red Murano glass chandeliers, you’ll dig into COJE culinary director Tom Berry’s interpretation of the “coastal French” assignment. For Berry, that includes taking much inspiration from Basque Country, the autonomous Spanish region right on the French borderline: One of the saltwater and rye crust flatbreads, for instance, is topped with coveted Bayonne ham, piquant Roncal sheep’s milk cheese, and a chili oil made with zesty Espelette peppers—all cornerstone ingredients of Basque cuisine.
Berry also considers the influence of coastal French colonies, though. When you’re not digging into decadent shellfish towers— including the served-hot La Flambé, an eye-popping arrangement of baked oysters, clams gratinée, butter broiled lobster tail and more—you might opt for the raw bar’s Tahitian Tuna, a French Polynesia-inspired plate with notes of coconut, lime, and charred jalapeño. There are also dishes that highlight the commingling of French and North African cuisines: see the lamb meatballs with caper crème fraîche, orange-date glaze, crushed hazelnuts, and harissa chili-oil; or the borek spring rolls stuffed with roasted, ras el hanout-spiced chicken, chopped dates, gruyere, and an Algerian-style sauce of mayo, chili, garlic, and onion.
The full menu, seen below, also boasts some shareable feasts—from standout steaks to tuna au poivre for pairing with frites—as well as fine wines (many displayed in a massive glass case by the bar) and kicky cocktails: pre-batched martinis served ice cold, a few interesting twists on gin and tonic, and inventive notions like the Waterloo, a rye-based tipple plied with uniquely French aperitifs like fruity, herbal Bonal and ruby-colored, port-like Byrrh.
Ready to rendezvous? Coquette opens tomorrow.