In February 2010 I posted a story about an underground dinner staged by an incognito group collectively known as The Clandestine Chef. The dinner was set in a borrowed office space at 360 N. Boyle, next to the Actors Studio and West End Grill. Subsequent dinners by the group were announced via email. Locations varied and were announced at the last minute, adding to the mystery of it all. Well, secrets are rarely kept for long and reinvention in the fickle restaurant business is often the name of the game.
In tune with the times, The Clandestine Chef has now become a brand, "Entre.," and self-taught head chef John Perkins, below, has signed a five-year lease on the property at 360 N. Boyle (above). In the interim Perkins has been catering weddings, private parties, and corporate events and offering the occasional underground dinner.
Now that Entre. has found a permanent home, underground dining has re-surfaced with a series of themed dinners set in the communal dining room which seats 40. Reservations are currently being accepted for Le Coq, featuring imaginative prix fixe dinners based on chicken. The short-term restaurant will remain open for the next two weeks (note the change: until tomorrow night!) on Thursday through Saturday, 6 to 10 p.m. In addition to the prix fixe menu, an a la carte selection is available at four cocktail tables. The wine list consists of eleven reasonably-priced wines; beer selections start with Genesse Cream Ale at $3. John's talented mixologist, whose theme-based cocktails (Rooster Cogburn, Tom N Ginger, etc.) are priced at $9, works magic with her cocktail shaker in the minuscule bar area.
Le Coq will close February 9 so Chef Perkins can commence work on an anti-Valentine (not anti-love) menu scheduled for February 14, 15 & 16. Seating is limited to 30 for the Valentine's weekend. Check the website for more information.
Perkins will reopen with a second themed restaurant on March 14 using Flannery O'Connor's short story, A Good Man is Hard to Find, as inspiration. The menu will feature Southern comfort food and great mint juleps. The Southern theme will continue through Kentucky Derby weekend (May 4). The restaurant concept will then take a hiatus until wedding season is over, and reopen with a new theme at the end of the summer. Keep checking the website for what Chef Perkins, who loves this crazy business for its artistry, creativity, and day-to-day challenge, has up his sleeve next.
Le Coq is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. until February 9 2. If you are planning a group function--a bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.---this cozy, quiet spot with terrific food may be your solution. You know your guests will be wowed by the imaginative menu.
Entre.: To make reservations for Le Coq or future events, call (314) 632-6754 or visit the website, 360 N. Boyle.