Coffee Oysters Champagne
Coffee Oysters Champagne might seem like a pretty cut-and-dry concept—the name really doesn't leave much to the imagination—but this swanky spot is actually full of secrets.
Beneath the pristine facade of this seemingly tiny eatery is a playful mystery waiting to be solved: the location of its secret restaurant, À Toi.
But before you get to that point, the best way to enjoy COC is to first enjoy their coffee, oysters, and champagne.
Open from 7 a.m. until 2 a.m. almost daily, this prim and pink Parisian-inspired space makes light work of business by offering three things that largely make the world go round.
Single-origin coffee beans offered in the morning blend easily into platters of dressed oysters paired with glasses of bubbly at night.
COC has the largest champagne list in the city—the real stuff, that is, from Champagne—with 25 bottles and even more sparkling wine.
From bottles of sparkling Ridgeview Brut ($112) to a 3,000 ml vintage Louis Roederer 'Cristal' Brut from 2007 that costs $4,888, the variety of Champagne, Cava, and other types of fizz are impressive.
While most of us will balk at the idea of buying anything for four figures in one night, COC balances the scales by offering high-end champagne by the glass, indisputably making them the most accessible champagne bar in the city.
A Verre de Vin system preserves the freshness of bottles for up to 21 days after opening it, allowing customers to buy a single glass of coveted Krug 'Grande Cuvée' Brut ($74) without having to buy the whole bottle ($435).
Or, you can just opt for a $9 glass of Fiol Prosecco—either way, you'll have a suitable accompaniment for COC's revolving platters of dressed oysters.
The Oyster Rocafella ($21 for a half dozen) offers up smooth Royal Miyagi oysters from Fanny Bay covered in chives, black masago caviar, edible rose petals—the restaurant has a penchant for those—and a splash of champagne.
It's an unreal combo and will have you feeling giddy, if the champagne hasn't already gotten you there.
When you've tired of oysters (a very rich person thing to say) you can either stay in COC or alert your server that you're ready to be taken in to À Toi, which lies somewhere beyond the pink onyx walls and crystalline champagne room lined with bottles.
I could tell you exactly how we got there and what it looked like inside, but there's a no-picture policy inside À Toi (save for the washroom area with a red bath tub). Plus, leaving out the elusive details is half the fun of getting there.
What I can say that is that even the most jaded will have to resist 'oohing' and 'aahing' with the rest of us.
There is a whole separate menu of refined eats and strong cocktails waiting to be explored in this mystery lounge.
The warm mushroom salad ($16) made with trevsio, sherry, puffed rice and cured egg yolk are just one of many impressive eats courtesy of Chef Chris Wilkinson, the former sous chef at the Broadview Hotel.
The octopus comes sous vide ($19) and grilled with salsa verde, chervil, and pickled beets.
The hit dish, and for obvious reasons, is the Two Duck ($34): a tender piece of seared six-hour cured breast and confit duck leg with maitake mushrooms, turnips, onions, and spiced fruit.
You can pair it with an absinthe cocktail or the Punch Provençal ($16), a super boozy gin drink with St. Germain, yellow chartreuse, and bitters.
And for dessert, the savarin ($12) is a sweet take on brioche dough doused in brandy, lemon orange syrup and crême patisserie.
Needless to say, the entire experience at Coffee Oysters Champagne will be an absolute trip for first-timers—it doesn't surprise me that it's the brainchild of a shroom trip in Thailand (at least that's what I'm told, but the whole place is about tricks and fibs, so who knows?)
Even when you get inside À Toi, there are surprises waiting to befuddle you. A few words of advice: ask for the VIP drink menu but never ask about the room, and remember you won't exit the restaurant the same way you came in.