I popped into Michael Chiarello's new Spanish tapas endeavor, Coqueta, the other night, seeking libations after a trippy lightshow at the new Exploratorium. The sherry cocktail I enjoyed in the tiny, buzzy bar was dry and well-crafted, but something was nagging at me: the cluster of Zagat and Michelin recommendation stickers on the restaurant's front door. The problem? Coqueta has only been open for a week.
Zagat stickers are fairly ubiquitous -- the Subway around the corner from our office has one, after all -- but the Michelin name carries some weight. It seemed disingenuous and more than a little shady, especially since the Embarcadero is seeing a resurgence and more and more tourists are making the walk between the Exploratorium and the Ferry Building. Were these honors Chiarello had received at his Napa restaurants and put on the door at Coqueta using some sort of transitive window sticker property, I wondered, or were they leftover from the space's previous incarnation as Lafitte and somehow neglected to be taken down?
But it turns out there's a simple explanation for the stickers -- the door is being replaced, and the new one, which was scheduled to be delivered before opening, has been delayed twice. General manager Michael Iglesias says the last thing he and the Coqueta team want to do is ride on the coattails of Lafitte's accolades, but with all the insanity of a new restaurant opening, putting in the man hours to scrape the stickers off the door that was about to be replaced wasn't a huge priority. As the door's been delayed, though, he says questions about the stickers have been coming in.
Iglesias expects the new door on Wednesday. And the team needn't worry -- if Coqueta is as good as early buzz says it is, I'm sure they'll have their own set of stickers by this time next year.