That's right, today -- March 22 -- is the national food holiday set aside to celebrate the French dish known as coq au vin, or rooster braised in wine, preferably a hearty burgundy. There are references to a similar dish dating back to Julius Caesar, and it's a timeless peasant dinner. But the earliest published recipes reportedly date to the 20th century. Most modern recipes call for chicken or capon (castrated rooster).
But it's a bit difficult to celebrate this dish in the metro today. I could find only one local restaurant serving coq au vin. And it's not even a French restaurant!
First, the restaurants that are not serving coq au vin on this holiday:
Cafe Provence used to have the dish on its menu. It currently offers it only as an occasional special. "If you called us, like a week in advance," says Damon, one of the restaurant's servers, "I'm sure the chef will make it for you."
Aixois in Brookside occasionally offers the dish as a dinner special, according to the bistro's bar manager, Andrew Niemeyer.
Cafe des Amis in Parkville offers coq au vin -- very rarely -- as a dinner special. "It's a very difficult dish to prepare," one of the cooks told me, "because we don't make it with chicken. It's supposed to be made with rooster! And that's not so easy to get."
Le Fou Frog offers coq au vin as a dinner special every so often, says co-owner Barbara Rafael. "We'll have it as a dinner special or even as a lunch dish on Thursdays," she says. "But it's a dish that takes a lot of time to prepare, and visually, it's not the most attractive dish. There's a lot of bones."
There are no bones in the coq au vin served -- today and always -- at the Melting Pot restaurant on the Country Club Plaza. This venue uses only boneless chicken breast. But it may be the only restaurant in town offering the dish, and tonight, that's something to crow about.