Perhaps best-known for his sassy or scathing reviews, Pete Wells is one of the most powerful voices in food criticism. He is a restaurant reviewer for the New York Times, and has written multiple articles that sent waves through the foodie world. 

When Wells writes a really good review, the people take notice. This is exactly what happened with chef Daniel Rose's first New York restaurant, Le Coucou. I never thought I would be able to eat at this well-known spot. However, due to perseverance and a willingness to eat at weird times, I secured a reservation for a Monday night at 9:45 pm. 

In preparation, I re-read the Wells' review (as well as some others) to find recommended dishes.

The restaurant is an easy distance from the subway and, in typical upscale restaurant fashion, easy to miss if you don't know where you are going. The neon sign outside the restaurant reads "Le Coucou" but it's hard to tell what is going on inside the restaurant since a set of curtains shield the entryway. 

Stepping into Le Coucou is like stepping back in time in France. Chandeliers and candles make up the primary sources of light, plush couches fill the bar area, and each table is impeccably set with a white tablecloth and wine glass. Le Coucou beautifully combines old elegance with new.

After a few minutes of waiting at the bar, we were shown to our seat (pictured above), a table in view of the open kitchen where chefs in tall, crisp chef hats work quietly. As we walk, the host follows behind, bringing our drinks from the bar to the table. 

The menus arrived quickly after we sat down and the menu looked as delicious as it did exotic: veal terrine, pike quenelle, an entire rabbit, and pigeon (or "squab" to make it more appealing). I remembered the rabbit and the veal from reviews. 

While we perused the menus, one of the servers brought bread, butter, and pork fat with garlic and black pepper. Not only were there new and interesting spreads to put on bread, this bread was delicious. It is easy to forget what good bread tastes like, so this was a nice reminder. 

The best part about eating with two people is that you get to try more things, so between the two of us we tried the leeks with hazelnuts and cherry vinaigrette, the veal terrine with pickled mushrooms, the raw bay scallops with chestnuts and clementine, the squab with lobster and mashed potatoes, and the entire rabbit. 

Halfway through the meal, when we had finished our cocktails, the server took some time to recommend a wine to go with our main course, discussing the flavor profiles of the wines. Each time one of us went to the restroom, we would return to find our napkin folded (sometimes unnoticed by the one of us left at the table). Between each dish, new silverware appeared, carefully curated for whatever we would be eating next. 

Once, I dropped my fork. I thought I picked it up slyly and would just manage with a spoon for the rest of the dish, but within the minute, a waiter was next to me offering me a new fork. 

I left the meal full and happy, thrilled to have been wined and dined on an average but special night in New York City. Considering how full the restaurant was, even at 11pm on a Monday night, other people clearly felt the same.

The reason Pete Wells is able to eat like he does and write like he does is because being in a restaurant is about so much more than eating. Stepping foot into this Le Coucou, you know you'll be meticulously taken care of for the night. There is a team of people watching you to ensure happiness with your meal and service.

It was amazing to experience the art of restaurant success, which is how I feel every Thursday when I turn to the Food section of the New York Times.