I was having one of “those days,” running from one meeting to the next. I was fatigued but enjoying a second wind as I skipped down Yonge narrowly avoiding a downpour. I pranced past the Finish Line: a feast at Coquine Restaurant.
I was immediately welcomed by a Parisian style bistro bar and cutesy dinning room decorated in Eiffel Tower motif and the smile splitting “warms my heart,” portraits of dramatic belle’s. As soon as I arrived I started shooting the space while moments later Julie the Marketing maven at Strum App gave me a hug. We sat by the bar and did a bit of catching up while sipping on a Manhattan.
I met with the team at Strum a few days before heading to Ireland for my St. Paddys Day press trip. I enjoyed a lovely chat with Andrew the CEO and Founder where he discussed his passion for customer service and how he came about developing Strum App. By the end of our meeting we decided to host a dinner with a few of my favourite social media app savvy friends at one of Andrew’s favourite restaurants.
Andrew makes the connection between Strum and Coquine Restaurant, “Strum began as a simple idea: Businesses can’t know what we’re thinking as customers unless we tell them. So why not put the customer experience in the customer’s hands? Why not let customers give business owners real time feedback directly? I received a lot of great feedback on that idea, and the best of the best came from Rob Prete, the owner of Coquine Restaurant in Toronto. In the Spring of 2012, I told Rob what I was up to. Rob’s feedback? Don’t make it about feedback. Focus on people. Make it easier for customers and business owners to connect personally. That made sense to me. Why did I go to Coquine so regularly? Because of the people ─ Rob and his team made me feel important. As customers, we all like to feel welcome. To feel important. To feel appreciated. Especially at our favourite local businesses. But unless we’re there every week, it’s difficult for them to remember us. So why not give us our own tool? To let businesses know we care. To have some direct influence with the owner or manager. To give an employee a well-deserved compliment. To get treated like a regular. That’s Strum.”
Shortly after 6pm guests streamed into the space: Casie from This Is My Life, Val from I’m Charming You, Nicki from View the Vibe, Natalie from Near Afar and Vicky from Mom Who Runs. We spent the next few hours seated in the the restaurants private dining room while sampling through what seemed like hundreds of French centric dishes. Andrew chit chatted about his passion for customer service and why he decided to leave his cushy job to pursue his passion to create the world’s first customer service driven App. In between charcuterie, steak frites and cassoulet we strummed away on our phones. I couldn’t help but smile as it was clear that the old saying, “don’t play with your phone at the dinner table,” had been thrown out the window that evening.
The Feast (* notes my favourites)
Barrel Aged Manhattan
rye, sweet vermouth, house secrets
Assiete De Charcuterie
french cured meats, country terrine, boiled egg, gruyere, dijon, pickles, herbed toast
Salade Prosciutto de Canard
frisee with house cured duck prosciutto, poached egg, sherry vinaigrette
Salade Coquine *
arugula, proscuitto-wrapped figs, sliced prosciutto, gorgonzola, candied walnuts, sherry vinaigrette
roasted pork belly, seared diver scallops with persillade, truffled potato puree, crispy brussel sprout
Steak Frites *
dry aged 8oz new york striploin, herb butter, truffle oil and parmesan frites
braised white beans, smoked pork belly, duck sausage, lamb and duck leg confit
Pappardelle Au Boeuf Bourguignon *
braised beef cheek, sweet peas and carrots
Ravioli aux Champignons Sauvages *
wild mushroom with sundried tomatoes and spinach, white wine truffled cream
Pudding Chomeur *
warm apple maple cake, vanilla gelato
Trate Au Citron
lemon tart brule, fresh berries
#444 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.