Venice’s former Chez Tex is flipping into a new restaurant this Thursday, March 16. It’s out with the old and in with the new for owners Hayley and Jesse Feldman, who have brought some significant changes to the Main Street space that is now giving pure bistro vibes. Welcome to Coucou, where Aperol spritzes, negronis, mussels mariniere, and caviar service are the norm.
Don’t be thrown by the caviar service. The truth is, there’s a casualness to Coucou that is designed to keep the place friendly for the neighborhood. The husband-and-wife team behind the former Chez Tex have enjoyed years of local support, and it was only with the addition of a full liquor license and a new consulting chef and menu direction that the decision was made to re-form as Coucou instead.
Former Bouchon and Malibu’s Surfrider Hotel chef Jacob Wetherington worked to develop an LA-Francophile menu for the restaurant, including Morro Bay oysters, zucchini beignets, steak tartare, and crudites for starters. Mains include a hot dog made with a Peads + Barnetts’ sausage and classic steak frites. The team plans to heavily utilize a wood-fired grill for seasonal vegetables like harissa cauliflower and a plant-based french dip with ash-baked king oyster mushrooms as the main protein as well.
Last fall, the Feldmans announced plans to team up with the owners of nearby Crudo e Nudo to transform the Chez Tex space, but ultimately they decided to move forward with their own strategy. The Feldmans ceased service at the six-year-old Chez Tex on February 14 and revamped the sparse space in near-record time. Hayley Feldman tells Eater LA that they wanted to bring warmth to Coucou, so visitors will find new lighting with French pendants, sconces, and shaded table lamps. Previous visitors will notice the new benches and banquettes with soft leather, and the wooden triple-arched bar made by a local craftsman; the exposed brick remains the same at the funny space at 218 Main Street.
Coucou’s cocktail menu includes the aforementioned Aperol spritz and other classics like the Sidecar, but there are a lot of modern takes as well, like a French 76 that utilizes the woman-operated Amass vodka, a maple old fashioned, and margarita with jalapeno-infused tequila, mezcal, and St-Germain elderflower liqueur. Beer and wine are also on deck.
If looking for a comparison, Coucou seems like the distant Westside relative to Eagle Rock’s neighborhood aperitivo bar Capri Club, but with more dishes. “We’re Francophiles by nature, so we wanted to lean into Coucou,” says Hayley. “We are calling it a French restaurant with cocktails. We learned a lot over the years, and hoping that Coucou will be this fabulous iteration of what we’ve learned.”
Coucou hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The Feldmans will keep daytime hours over the weekend on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.