Coque is a 30 minute cab ride from the center of Madrid in an unlikely looking location. They do have a good sized building which provides plenty of room for a large kitchen, several smoking ovens, a huge basement wine cellar, a medium sized main floor dining room and a downstairs lounge. Your meal moves you through all these areas in what is undoubtedly an attempt to make it a dining experience, not just a meal. The three Sandoval brothers, chef(Mario), sommelier(Diego) and dining room management(Rafael), now own the restaurant started 14 years ago by their father. Definitely a family operation, today even Diego’s son is working as a waiter in the restaurant.
They offer 2 tasting menus, one having 3 extra courses for an additional 40 euros, but that is based on the translated menus on which there were a number of errors and the waiter even admitted they had not been updated recently. Either tasting you chose, you start in the wine cellar with a designated cocktail and a series of snacks that ranged from okay to good. The room is entertainment enough, to look at the various wine storage areas and the floor filled with wine bottles.
From there you move to the kitchen and meet Chef Mario and get his explantation of some of the equipment and watch all the workers beginning meal preparations while you enjoy a snack and drink. Chef then takes you to his large suckling pig cooking oven and demonstrates a turning of the pig. He also showed us several smaller ovens each using a different kind of wood. Another snack in here and then you are off to the dining room.
In the dining room you can look over the 2 menu choices and the massive wine list which is on a computer pad. We chose the shorter menu which didn’t sit well with the waiter as he replied to our order with , “the longer one.” We corrected him again when he brought the warmed napkins. The music is more subdued upstairs but they had an uncomfortable high-backed, high seat bottom chair for the woman whereas the men got a normal comfortable chair. The thing made me feel claustrophobic and too high above the eating surface of the table.
The meal started with a consommé made table-side by the waiter who poured the water into a cooker and then left for a while. When he returned to pour up the broth, he also brought a bun topped with truffles and a plate of mushrooms with truffles and ham. All were mild with the bun having the most flavor.
Next was a line of vegetables and herbs that you were to eat from the right to the left. There were too many things to identify any one of them and again was mild. The bread was served and it was dense, warm and crusty.
The crab stew was mixed with grilled octopus, cockles, mussels and sliced prawn. The crab was sweet and it was a nice mixture of tastes.
The sturgeon was not mixed with other fish as listed on the menu but was mixed with a number of vegetables. It was nice.
The braised tuna was caramelized and served with tomatillos, pomegranate seeds and grainy crackers. It was filled with textures but alone the fish was too strong. When all were combined it was a much better taste.
The oxtail was served in a sticky, long cooked sauce. It was shredded meat with a fudgy poached egg. The truffles in it were more aroma than taste but overall it was rich, tender and very full of flavor.
The pig was presented under a glass receptacle that trapped the smoke of the Athena wood. It was tender and juicy with a beautiful crisp crust of skin. The small bit of vegetable with it was more decorative than tasty – this course is all about the pork.
A pre-dessert was served with a blueberry sauce flamed and reduced table side. It was served with yogurt and ice cream but for all the effort I’m not sure that the taste of the blueberries were enhanced that much. It was fun to watch, but then more flames awaited us downstairs.
Down the stairs to the Lounge area was next where the walls were hung with large video screens and the music was much louder. The video screens were different but it did cast a color tone on some of the photos. Desserts started with a tea and plum drink that was a beautiful color but very tart.
Next was a ‘baked Alaska’ type dessert with flaming meringue and a nice mix of tart and sweet that worked very well together.
The chocolate was enhanced with a center bowl of non-edibles over which they poured a liquid nitrogen that enveloped the table in smoke. Another visual treat – the plate was small bites of a lot of different tastes, chocolate, berry, mint, caramel, meringue.
The meal ended with a wild copper sculpture holding a cinnamon sugar cake which rated a yum. The round chips were a brittle and the macaroons were an okay rendition. The final treat was a creamy praline with white chocolate.