If you haven’t been to a French bistro, and you’re not wound too tight, you must go. The emphasis is on casual comfort. Sit back on a summer’s eve, have a few cocktails, take your time with some light appetizers, sip some French wine, smell the smells, the music sings in the background, indulge in a heavenly French entree. The good news is you don’t have to leave Buffalo. Coco Bar and Bistro (formerly Coco by Le Metro) has been open since spring of 2012. I’ve been there twice and I like it more each time. It’s not your standard Buffalo bar with an attached restaurant. It’s a bistro and a bar. If you haven’t been to a bistro the difference may be lost on you…so you should go to a bistro. It’s just different.
The bar part is similar to a lot of Buffalo bars, maybe more attractive than most. They have a nice selection of beers ~ 9-10 on tap and plenty by bottle. The setup is comfortable with plenty of room to sit, stand, get a drink and get around.
The bistro area is also nicely decorated with murals on the wall. The space is plentiful, but still comfortable. It was raining so we sat inside, but there is nice cozy garden in the back with tables.
Food: The food is French bistro for the most part but the menu borrows from some Italian recipes, which is really very French. The bread is crusty, the butter somehow creamier – full yet subtle flavors.
To Start: They brought out some nice French bread served with creamy butter and a rosemary hummus. For appetizers we enjoyed Dinner Dates – chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, smoked tomato sauce ($9). What a great combination of flavor and texture -sweet, smoky, crunchy, creamy. We also sampled one of the specials- Roquefort Tart with a garlic-walnut dressing and EVVO tossed arugula. The tart was light on the cheese and it was topped with the garlic walnut. Yum.
For our entrees:
Provencal Moules ($15)- also known as mussels, steamed in a pot with tomato, garlic, white wine and herbs. This is enough for two people to share or a group for an appetizer. The ultimate bistro dish and done to perfection.
Chicken Milanese ($20) – panko crusted cutlet topped with arugula, mozzarella pearls, grape tomatoes, red onion, basil and balsamic vinaigrette. A huge cutlet that was crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. One look at the ingredients and you know you can’t go wrong.
“Coco” vin ($22) – Riesling braised chicken, pearl onions, bacon, carrots, fingerling potatoes, garlic, herbs. Note the Riesling, not a heavy red that is generally in Coq au vin. Nice touch for a summer’s evening. Loved it!
We also ordered a side of the Frites. French fries (but better) with rosemary salt, parmesan and aioli ($4). These are worth stopping in for if it is the only thing you order.
With dinner we tried a bottle of Clos Bagatelle GSM Lanquedoc, France ($35). Pretty average I’d say and maybe a little too sweet for my taste. Coco’s has a nice wine list with about 30 options in white, rose, sparkling and red.
French country salad – puy lentil, beet, gingered carrot, crumbled chevre, walnuts, field greens, sherry vinaigrette ($10).
Trout- herb and lemon roasted Idaho Rainbow Trout, arugula, your choice of sauce ($18)
Lamb burger -smoked paprika, garlic, fennel, coriander ($14)
Scene: On a Thursday night it was a full house and a lively crowd that included all ages and walks of life- fun.
Service: Comfortably paced and efficient. If you’re in a hurry you’re missing the point.
888 Main Street Buffalo, New York 14202