March 28, 2012

Still Cocos After All These Years

The Rising Family is discriminating when eating out. Due to a finicky collective palate, there is usually only one unanimous choice: the Cocos restaurant chain. We are proud “Cocos achievers” and have been since Lady E. was born (see Eatin' Out, Elena Style).

Entering the restaurant, the welcome chime triggers Pavlovian gushes of saliva. Next, a bouquet of singed meat, boiling pasta and the buzz of young hormones emanating off the wait staff assaults your nose. The paisley-themed carpet stains invite the eye as you navigate the minefield of wandering toddlers. Sitting down, the menu is duly presented with a flourish by the consistently nervous-looking server (pimples optional). They seem to sense the coming cleanup of spilled drinks and the inevitable detritus of broken crayons and half-chewed food that accumulates under our table. 

In an ironic rejection of Michelin-guide snobs who revel in tablecloths, soft lighting, and chic d├ęcor,  Cocos eschews the posturing of two-stars. Fittingly, we focus our taste buds on the Cocos special du jour for kids—usually a splat of spaghetti, a glurt of curry and rice, or the hamburger-thingy platter drowning in demi-glace. This restaurant has something for all tastes! However, it is more cordon blow than Cordon Bleu.

To be fair, Coco's is a nationwide chain of family-oriented restaurants that offers a wide range of dishes including hamburgers, spaghetti, pizza and doria (rice casserole with white sauce). The hard buns never lie. The all-you-can-drink bay of beverages never runs dry. The clientele? There is has a palpable esprit du corps among the variously haggard, harried, enraged and/or despondent-looking parents as they deal with their offspring.

And the best thing: no tips! (Admittedly, this is the case throughout Japan.)

Ambiance? Check. Competitively priced? Check. Palatable food? Check minus. Such is our fine dining experience with two small kids. C’est la vie de la famille.

1 comment:

Amy Lilley said...

Coco's? What about The Royal Host?