Cogo reaches adulthood

The new El Coq is a great project for a big, sound, refined, creative cuisine: źJudge me based on this╗

10-05-2017

Lorenzo Cogo at work behind the pass at his new El Coq in Vicenza (photo Tanio Liotta)

Photogallery

A new Lorenzo Cogo at the new El Coq, since July 2016 in the heart of Vicenza
At the entrance, the Carlton library by Ettore Sottsass, a great designer, founder of the  Memphis Group. In fact, it is entirely made in sugar, the work of artist Marco Chiurato

 
We get to the first floor: the perspective at the entrance recalls the depth of Palladio’s works
The elegant dining room

Walk up the stairs, leaving the splendour of the Palladian Basilica behind you. Ring the bell, get inside: to the right, there’s the Carlton bookcase by Ettore Sottsass, a great designer, the founder of the Memphis Group. In front of you, the lift and a screen. Lorenzo Cogo welcomes us on the floor above. Congratulations, you have a Sottsass bookcase, a legendary piece… «What? It’s made entirely of sugar! Artist Marco Chiurato did it for me». The video is also by the same author, titled Ti amo e ti odio, «it happens to me too. Those who value my work love me, for the acknowledgements I received so young. But I’m hated for the same reason, “he’s so young and he’s already received so many acknowledgements. Before others. He’ll get big headed”».

So, did you? «Here in Vicenza I put myself to the test, in a difficult, important project. It’s a beautiful location but it used to be an empty restaurant, one locals avoided. I tell them and I tell everyone: come here, my door is open. Judge my work, if I’m good, love me, if I’m terrible, hate me. Not vice versa». There’s another video that Chiurato curated for CogoIllusione, you can watch it here. It represents leavening, the both long and fast expansion. «The weight however stays the same». You grow, but if there’s talent, matter, these remain unchanged.

The view over the Basilica Palladiana

The view over the Basilica Palladiana

Very true. We wrote about Cogo’s talent here, little less than three years ago. He really was a kid (he was born in 1986) but with a turbo engine already. A powerful engine on a simple car, the old El Coq in Marano Vicentino; not today’s Ferrari, which is a much greater task, if only because it is more exposed to the spotlight of praises and criticism.

«There, I was at home. Here, I’m in a restaurant, my restaurant. There, people would travel to see me, because they had heard of my cuisine and wanted to try it out. Here locals don’t care: they come and want to enjoy themselves. So I must present a cosy and diversified offer».

The entire building, which Cogo bought with four business partners, includes on top of El Coq a gelateria, in fact a Gelarteria, a cocktail bar and a bistro, Garibaldi, a historic place in town founded in 1850, open from breakfast till goodnight drinks. There’s also El Casolin, a small speciality store. Every place has a separate entrance. The idea is to make people try a more immediate offer, even if just an ice-cream cone, and stop the hesitation when visiting such a beautiful place. Hence they want to make this a friendly place, where people can meet new realities and approach fine dining too. Overcoming the psychological barrier: so perhaps they might gradually also get to the first floor, the gourmet temple. «I stand there, observing what passers-by do. I want to know what they think, how they react. Those who enter once, come back». He smiles. (El Coq seats some 30 people. Below, Garibaldi has around one thousand visitors per day).

Spaghetti with garlic and oil, hazelnut milk and seafood

Spaghetti with garlic and oil, hazelnut milk and seafood

Of course we went inside (and we will return), this was the reason of our visit. We found the chef who, like a brick of dough that rises without losing weight, has kept his already acknowledged crystalline vocation untouched: but now it’s grown, it’s more mature and structured. The place fully represents him: there’s a strong leap in terms of quality and setting. What was already good is now also beautiful. Cogo was a promising young man in his parents’ place in the countryside. He’s now a professional who runs a brilliant place in town, what with art and history. He’s taken on a challenge, so as to put himself to the test, and let people put him. It may seem like a small thing for him: here we’re in a great place for current (and very likely future) Italian fine dining.

The menu deserves an explanation. As for the single dishes, please refer to the photo gallery by Tanio Liotta. There’s a simpler à la carte offer, not to discourage newcomers: Tortellino with pigeon liver and its broth, “Rubia Gallega” entrecote… None of these dishes is included in the two tasting menus: the first, Sostanza, includes five dishes chosen among great ingredients and El Coq classics. Plus there’s Esperienza, research and experiments. Everything runs smoothly.
Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso


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Photogallery

A new Lorenzo Cogo at the new El Coq, since July 2016 in the heart of Vicenza
At the entrance, the Carlton library by Ettore Sottsass, a great designer, founder of the  Memphis Group. In fact, it is entirely made in sugar, the work of artist Marco Chiurato

 
We get to the first floor: the perspective at the entrance recalls the depth of Palladio’s works
The elegant dining room
Precious cutlery by Giò Ponti for Sambonet. Everything is studied: the colour of the tablecloth is inspired by the roof of the Basilica Palladiana
The view from the dining room...
...and from the kitchen
Let’s start: Cherry tomato, angustura, vegetable jus. All the photos of the dishes are by Tanio Liotta
Beetroot macaroons with radicchio and Béarnaise sauce with mint
Choux pastry with peanut cream and dried bacon
Doughnut with goat cheese and curry cream: the last appetizer
Fondale marino, scalogno, salmone e salicornia: the shallot is chargrilled, there’s peppermint mousse, powdered salmon, and granita made with sea asparagus and orange bitter