Sangria; photo © 2013 FrankenyImages.com.
The communal table in the main dining room (during an opening party). Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Open as of Saturday April 13th is ~COQUETA~, the stylish new Spanish concept from chef Michael Chiarello on Pier 5. The former Lafitte now has a rustic-chic look by architects Alberto Rivera and Michael Guthrie (complete with cowhide rugs and leather banquettes), views of the water, and an outdoor, glass-enclosed terrace room (called Bar 5) that is reserved for walk-ins hungry for tapas and cocktails. The primary space allows for bites at the 10-seat tapas bar, or groups can enjoy family-style dining in the main dining room (called the “cocina”), either at the communal table or regular tables (which are a bit taller than usual so you can enjoy the views). There are also 16 seats on the patio. I had a chance to speak with Chiarello’s wife, Eileen, who mentioned they were looking for the right spot for a couple of years.
The open kitchen includes a custom wood-fired grill that will be put to use to prepare hot tapas like grilled razor clams ($14), duck albóndigas ($11), and calçots (which Chiarello is having grown especially for the restaurant). Chef Ryan McIlwraith is also making larger family-style dishes like fideuà (vermicelli pasta cooked like paella with shrimp and lomo Iberico, $24) and fabada Asturiana (fabada bean stew from Asturias with chorizo, pork belly, and morcilla, $24)—look for regional dishes from Madrid, Catalonia, the Basque country, and beyond. Take a look at the menu (and cocktail list) here!
The wine list has plenty of Spanish and California selections, plus an extensive small-production sherry collection. There’s a lot of buzz about the inventive cocktail list—created by Joe Cleveland (who previously worked for José Andrés)—with selections ranging from gin and tonics to sangria. Open nightly for dinner; Coqueta will launch their bar menu and hours this Saturday (from 3pm-5pm) and lunch starts on Monday (hours will be 11:30am-3pm) .