Coda is a restaurant to fall in love with. It’s very small (seats 18) and has no decor to speak of, aside from a strange lighting fixture on the ceiling made with plumber’s pipes. All the beauty comes out of the open kitchen in the form of food prepared by a husband-and-wife team of chefs, Vincent and Pauline Da Costa, who do everything themselves, taking turns serving customers and working at the stove.
The first sign of great things to come was the amuse-bouche, a stunning watercress soup with an unusual topping of tiny diced raw fermented potatoes and tiny bits of crispy fried leeks with their mild oniony flavor. Amazing!
The dishes listed on the blackboard menu, three for each course, seemed very straightforward at first glance, but nothing could be further from the truth. The first surprise was the “pastrami/beets/radicchio.” Vincent explained that pastrami is usually made with veal (who knew?), but that this pastrami was made with pork marinated for two weeks with garlic scapes (stalks) then slow-cooked for two days and served with roasted beets and radicchio. The flavors were rich and complex and melded beautifully.
The Dieppe scallops, done to a turn, were cooked in beet vinegar, charred with a blowtorch and served with quince purée and pickled black radish. I don’t think I’ve ever had scallops I liked better.
The one dish that was apparently simple benefited from its excellent quality and perfect preparation: the tender, flavorful slow-cooked leg of lamb served with two perfectly cooked parsnips.
The delicious poached aile de raie (skate wing) was much more elaborate, stuffed with onions cooked in turmeric, paired with sweet red garlic and served with baby fennel and fish bouillon with turmeric.
The creativity continued with the desserts. One was black-cardamom-flavored cream and pears with chocolate crumble and fleur de sel. The other was an inverted Pavlova: the fruit – apples with cinnamon – and raw heavy cream were hidden inside the meringue rather than plopped on top.
Kudos to these two hard-working, talented and likable young people, who put seasonal ingredients and all the parts of the products they use to work to their best advantage. I recommend that you go to Coda soon, before it becomes impossible to get a reservation. Like the chef who preceded them in this location, Adrien Cachot of the now-defunct Détour, they may well move on to splashier things. May they remain as brilliantly humble as they are now.Favorite