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French Connection

With delectable dishes served in an intimate setting, Le Coq Au Vin gives guests a lot to savor.

Although the building that houses Le Coq Au Vin looks more like a cottage than a restaurant, my friend and I knew we were in the right place when we arrived on a recent Saturday evening because we saw the restaurant’s “Bon Appétit Y’all” sign outside. Having driven past that sign a hundred times on Orange Avenue, I was curious to find out what this restaurant was all about.

My friend and I didn’t have a reservation but a table was open so we were seated right away in a corner booth. The dining room had wood paneling, stained glass windows and mood lighting, the last of which made it feel quite romantic. If you’re looking for a place to have an intimate date night with your loved one, Le Coq Au Vin is worthy of consideration.

To start, we ordered glasses of wine—the best accompaniment for French food if you ask me. I ordered the Reisling, since I planned on ordering a seafood entrée. My friend ordered a red, the Cedar + Salmon Pinot Noir.

Just a few things to note about the drink list here: There are no cocktails but lots of great wine selections, and there’s a decent, but short, list of bottled beers.

The restaurant’s menu covers a lot of ground and includes the classics you’d presume to find at an American-French restaurant including French onion soup, beef bourguignon and, as you would expect, coq au vin.

We asked our server what the most popular appetizer was and she steered us to the Escargots ($16.50). So, we went with that, along with an order of the Tarte á l’Oignon ($11.50).

Escargots are a staple of French cuisine and here the little guys were served swimming in a mixture of garlic butter and herbs in six small, individual ramekins. Our server suggested dumping a ramekin on a slice of the complimentary bread that had been placed on our table. The combination was delicious and the snails were tender. I can see why this dish is sought-after.

As for the Tarte á l’Oignon, a caramelized onion tart topped with soft herbed cheese and bacon bits, the serving size was just right for two people. The pastry was light and the contrasting flavors and textures of the onion and cheese balanced one another out. This appetizer also came with a side of lightly dressed greens.

For entrées, our server listed off some of the evening’s specials, but we ultimately ordered off the menu. I opted for the Seared Scallops Oscar Style ($36.50) and my friend had the Pork Schnitzel ($29.50). At this point our server let us know that if we were planning on ordering a soufflé for dessert, now would be the time since they take quite a while to cook. We decided against the soufflé but planned to get one of the many other scrumptious sounding desserts later.

The scallops for my entrée were of Pays de la Loire, France. They were topped with crab meat and béarnaise, and the dish came with asparagus and the starch of the day, which was potatoes that had been mashed.

I ordered this dish primarily because I love béarnaise sauce, which is made with butter, egg yolks, wine or vinegar, and herbs. The sauce was rich and went well with the scallops, which had a beautiful, soft texture to them.

My friend’s entrée was as pleasant as mine. A breaded pork loin that was pan-fried and topped with black forest mushrooms and a peppercorn sauce, it came with a side of what seemed to be shredded pome flavored with clove, which added a fair amount of acidity to the otherwise creamy dish.

For dessert, we chose the Tarte aux Pommes ($8.50) and I ordered a black coffee ($4) to drink. Made with buttery puff pastry and Granny Smith apples and then topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and raisin-praline crunch, this sweet tart was the right size for sharing and we ate the whole thing.

When it comes to French cuisine here in Central Florida, you cannot do better than Le Coq Au Vin. From the appetizers to the main courses to the dessert, all the right connections are made between savory and sweet and rich and light. My suggestion: Bring someone you love, order a glass of wine and spend the evening savoring all that this restaurant has to offer.

Le Coq Au Vin
4800 South Orange Ave. | Orlando
407-851-6980 |

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s January 2020 issue.