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Is this stupide, or what? The $1,565 coq au vin

February 08, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila
  • The London restaurant Coq d'Argent has just put a $1565 coq au vin on the menu. Why so pricey? Because the bird is cooked in a bottle of grand cru Burgundy. The cost is for 3 to 4 people and includes a bottle of the same wine. Profits are donated to charity.
The London restaurant Coq d'Argent has just put a $1565 coq au vin on… (Coq d'Argent, London )

At the British Zagat site, Malika Dalamal reports that Coq d’Argent, a restaurant in central London’s the City, has added a £1,000 (about $1,565) chicken dish to its menu.

What makes it so expensive? Why, le vin, of course, in this case, 2009 Trapet Le Chambertin Grand Cru, a Burgundy that retails in the U.S. for something like $330.

Okay, so the markup is rather severe considering the wine is used as an ingredient in a dish and doesn’t require fine glassware or decanting. (The chicken is marinated in the wine for 24 hours before cooking.) But the chicken is a poulet de Bresse (which has its own appellation) and the price, which is for the whole table, includes a bottle of the same wine. P.S. Three days notice is required and the coq au vin serves three to four guests.

On the restaurant’s website, chef Mickael Weiss explains, “The Bresse chicken is a true symbol of France, with its blue feet, white feather and red comb. This particular breed of chicken is valued for its gamey depth of flavour, yet remains moist and tender when cooked, unlike the tough old bird that is too regularly used for this beautiful dish.”

But using that level of wine for a coq au vin is just plain silly. After the bird is simmered ever so slowly in the red wine, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between grand cru and plonk. Or at least that’s what I’d like to think, having never tried it with a great bottle of wine.

Do you think chefs really use Barolo in their brasato al Barolo (beef braised in Barolo)? No, they do not. They use some other hearty red wine. It’s not inconceivable, though, that a cook from a Barolo family might use a bottle from an off vintage.

Should anybody actually order the extravagant dish, the restaurant intends to donate “all profits from the dish” to the charity of the diners' choice.

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Twitter.com/sirenevirbila

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