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Saturday, May 23, 2009

COQUITO--THE NEW KID IN TOWN


31 Forester Ave.
Warwick, NY 10990
845 544-2790
coquitony.com


A new restaurant in restaurant-rich Warwick, New York creates a stir, so when we began hearing about Coquito even before it receives its liquor license, we know this is a place to go. BYOB is always nice anyhow, so five of us head there for dinner armed with enough wine to accompany any selection.

Coquito is in the site of an old favorite, The Back Yard Grill, so there has been a buzz about what would take its place. This Spanish restaurant seems perfect. It's the only show in town, and as such cannot be compared to The Backyard Grill.

No reservations at Coquito, but when we arrive rather early at 6:30, we get the last table large enough to accommodate us. When we leave after 9:00, the restaurant is still full. Word gets around a small town quickly. I have a feeling the “no reservations” policy will have to be altered. The bar is not big enough to handle waiting crowds.

Coquito brings the space a whole new look. Its décor is spare and dark, black walls and tech lighting. It has a cool, sophisticated air. The white linen contrasts nicely and adds to the ambiance. Our friend Marty seems to be in the hot seat. The setting sun hit him at one point, and later, once night set in, he is in amber spotlight. Realigning the lights would solve that. I'm not a big fan of the techno décor so prevalent in restaurants today because the absence of noise absorbing materials makes for a loud environment. It is not too bad in Coquito, but as it is a relatively small space, the noise is a factor.

As Warwick is a restaurant town, and Warwickians are restaurant-goers, it is no surprise to stop at some tables and say hello as we head to our seats. We even meet our next door neighbors. Dinners look great, and the fragrant aromas filling the air whet the appetite. Our party is ready to enjoy ourselves.

Our wines are quickly uncorked, and we begin to peruse the menu. We pass on the appetizers, but they are tempting: octopus cocktail, empanadas, and pasteles are among the possibilities. But they will have to wait for another time. We also pass on the selections of rice gumbos and the specialty rice dishes.

Marty chooses the grilled Skirt Steak, and he is pleased with the selection. It arrives exactly as ordered. Rob selects the Chilean Sea Bass. Later he praises that selection. Iris opts for the Grilled Salmon as I do. The salmon has a lovely, fruity sauce that adds to the uniqueness of the dish. Sue chooses the Grilled Pork Chops. It’s a full menu offering a wide variety. Each of us is pleased with our selection.

Each entrée is accompanied with a nice, fresh salad, and one side. Choosing the side proves difficult because they are unusual. We all choose either Rice with Pigeon Peas or Rice and Beans, but the Fried Plantains, Fried Sweet Plantains, and Yuca Fries were tempting. You can see this is a restaurant that requires a return visit.

Unfortunately we are too full for dessert, but they, too are inviting: Guava Shell with Cheese and Papaya Shell with Cheese are just two of the possibilities.

We are all happy with our selections and vow to return.

The word around Warwick is that Coquito is here to stay. Visit their website. You’ll learn that Coquito is debuting as Warwick’s adult supper club with a strong affinity for jazz. Two two-set evenings are planned for June. One on June 12th and the second on June 20th. More details are available on the website. Looks good to me.




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