Coquette Cafe – Flirting with Disaster (Milwaukee, WI)
I was not initially going to write a post about my experience at Coquette Cafe in the Historic Third Ward area of Milwaukee – for a few reasons. 1) Our server didn’t really play along with my request to simply be surprised by her favorite choice, 2) I didn’t take pictures to document the adventure visually (I was on a date, and although he knows I write a blog, I wanted to focus on our night out and not capturing every image possible), and 3) it was a truly AWFUL meal.
But… readers have asked me in the past if I ever do have really bad experiences when dining out in the “She Ordered What?” way, so I felt compelled to share a brief overview of this latest meal.
This was a second date with a man whom I had met a couple of weeks prior. We had a really fun first date (flying kites in the park, followed by a very fancy “picnic” that he had packed), and I wanted to ensure a fun second date as well. The weather was about 20 degrees cooler on our second date, so I made the executive decision to make it an indoor adventure. I wanted to try out SPiN – the local ping-pong bar, so I scoured Yelp! for a restaurant nearby. This was going to be my treat, since my date had pulled out all the stops on our first date (including bringing me a beautiful bouquet of flowers).
The Coquette Cafe reviews were a bit mixed on Yelp!, but more negative reviews from a few years ago, and the recent reviews were much more positive. I asked him if this French restaurant was a good choice, and he replied that it was “solid”. I now know that’s code for “it’s okay”. 😉
We met at the restaurant, and since he is an expert on wine, he chose a very nice bottle of Pinot Noir. I know that it was good because I had a few sips prior to tasting my meal. After the meal, the wine was ruined.
I advised the server that I’d like her to choose, because frankly, everything on the menu looked really delicious! She said she would recommend a few things, but I would have to choose. Okay…not the way I like to play, but at least she narrowed the options down for me!
She offered up the Mac ‘n Cheese, the Meat Loaf, and the Trout as her three options.
I chose the Trout because it seemed like the lightest dish and I didn’t want a heavy stomach to hold me back from playing ping-pong! My date originally requested the Monkfish special, but the restaurant was sold out, so he opted for the Pork (along with a citrus salad special that was simple and well made).
I took the first bite of my fish, and I couldn’t help but to pucker. This was a plate of lemon juice with a disproportionate amount of Trout on it. In fact, when our server came back to ask if we were “both delighted with our meals”, I couldn’t even respond because I was hiding my puckered up face. My date responded kindly to her that we were, although we both did not enjoy our meals – at all. His dish was equally overpowered with the Stone Ground Mustard Sauce. The pork was second fiddle – at best.
He happened to like my dish better, so in fact, almost half of it was eaten, but not more than a handful of bites by me. It was *that* inedible in my opinion. And, as I mentioned, I didn’t really enjoy the wine either, because it was fighting with the overwhelming lemon flavor still lingering on my taste buds.
Luckily, my date isn’t one to make a scene, and I’m not either. And, our service was fine, so I tipped her 25% which brought the total bill to almost $160 – for a terrible meal! For the record, my date did offer to pay for dinner, and he did treat me to darts and ping-pong. He is a gentleman. Also, for the record, I wouldn’t normally publicize how much I spend, and I don’t mind spending money on quality things now and then, but this was not money well-spent in my book.
Based on this experience, I doubt I will ever go back to Coquette Cafe. There are so many restaurants in Milwaukee that I just don’t see the need to drop a decent chunk of change on a meal that was so poorly executed.
(But, note…I really did enjoy SPiN! A fun vibe, although too visually stimulating at times to really concentrate on playing ping-pong! I definitely plan to go back there!)
I’ve created the blog category “One and Done” for this type of dining experience. Let’s hope it’s not used too frequently!
Have you been to Coquette Cafe? Have you had better experiences?
What has been your worst dining experience? Please leave a comment.