Cote Cour

(St. Francois)

Date of Review: May 1998

Reviewer: Zebulon

We returned from a day trip quite late, having had enough driving for one day. As a result, we cancelled our reservations in Gosier and settled for something closer to home. The manager of our hotel had recommended Cote Cour in St. Francois. We had also seen Zagaya recommended. We checked the menu at Zagaya while driving into town, it was basically the same as the Karacoli and the other traditional creole restaurants. Seeking some variety, we chose Cote Cour. What a fortunate change of plans.

Cote Cour is in St. Francois, on the water away from the marina. It has two levels, about four or five table on the upper level with a water view, and three tables downstairs. As we had switched our reservations at the last minute and, since we were a large party, we ended up downstairs. A bit of a shame, as the water view was lovely. In all, the small restaurant seats about thirty people maximum. During season, reservations are a necessity. Ask for the upper level by the water if its available when you make your reservations. The table by the water are usually set for four patrons.

We had brought some nice wines with us from the U.S. for our occasional happy hours at the hotel. On a hunch, we brought a one with us to dinner, a Cardinale from Kendall-Jackson. We had hoped that, for a corkage fee, the restaurant would be willing to serve it to us along with our dinner. The proprietoress at Cote Cour was more than happy to keep it slightly cool, and serve it to us with our main course for no charge at all. We also had a couple of bottles from their wine list. The list was not top notch, but it was good for Guadeloupe with several choices from each of a few different wine regions. As was typical, the focus of the wine list was on whites, Champagnes, roses and lighter reds such as Beaujolais.

We began with a bottle of Sancerre instead of a before dinner drink. As we relaxed, the owner began to bring us each a complitmentary pre-appitizer of boudin. Doug received the first, and for some weird Portugeuse reason, was pleased to eat blood sausage. My wife was next in line, who politely said thank-you, but she would rather pass. The owner then asked if she would prefer some fish. Yadira was happy to have an alternative. The rest of the table quickly followed her lead.

The restaurant then brought out, with no apparent delay, five thick portions of a chilled white fish mousse with a lemon beurre blanc. The lemon beurre blanc was excellent. Boudin-Doug was forced to swipe some of the sauce from his neighbors through the clever use of bread and sleight of hand. The presentation was lovely as well. This sign boded well for our dining that night.

The rest of the evening did not disppoint. A lobster and shrimp appetizer had an excellent three-dimensional presentation, great sauce, and tasted lovely. The only salad on the appetizer menu was an interesting seafood salad. One of us aked if he could possibly have a simple green salad (salade vert). As wonderful as the green salad Cote Cour served was, one would think it was on the menu at all times. I noted later that the translation for the main course section meant "Toninght's Suggestions". I truly believe that you could ask for anything that you wanted at Cote Cour and, if they had the ingredients, the owners and chef would be more than able make it for you with a smile.

The seafood dishes were uniformly excellent. The Colombo still had an edge in the grilled lobster department, but the sauces and presentation at Cote Cour made its version exceptional as well. The highlight of the main courses was the duck confit. Duck confit is made from the stronger parts of the duck (thighs and legs usually) and cooked for about two or three days. By the time it is ready to serve, the juices have reduced to an intense thick sauce and the meat is ready to fall off the bones. Oh, boy was that tasty. I rubbed my potatoes in the juices, as well as the bread and my fingers. Due to my fine upbringing, I regretfully refrained from licking the plate.

During my second visit, the confit was spectular as ever. If anything, the skin was crispier and the sauce more intense. Yadira had an excellent roasted snapper in a citron butter sauce, but also had the temerity to swipe some of my crispy duck skin whenever I failed to defense it adequately. A patron at a nearby table ordered a very impressive seafood dish that had tournedoes of the fish layered in a tower with portobello mushrooms and seared foie gras.

The desserts were excellent as well. I shared a duo of two somethings; chocolate and vanilla. They weren't ice cream. They may have been custards or yoghurts. They sure were good though.

I couldn't recommend Cote Cour more highly. Be certain to have a reservation and try to ask for a table alongside the water.