Michael Chiarello (Bottega) sat down with The Daily Meal for an update on his latest project, Coqueta, a Spanish-inspired spot in the Embarcadero space previously occupied by Lafitte. The most important news is that he's announced his team for the new spot: Ryan McIlwraith, a Bottega alum, will serve as head chef, while Joe Cleveland, whose resume includes a stint with José Andrés, will run the bar program.
Chiarello is planning for Coqueta to have 78 seats, with 30 at the bar, and has gone through the permitting process for a wood-fired oven. He's excited to be so close to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, and his lease actually stipulates that a certain percentage of the restaurant's food must originate there. The fare will be traditional Spanish, with patatas bravas, croquetas, paella, and grilled calçots (large green onions) with romesco, which Chiarello has enlisted a farm to grow specifically for the restaurant.
On the bar side, Cleveland will offer house-distilled gin and tonics (with few WASP connotations, gin-tónica bars are all the rage in Spain), which are also part of the menu at newish Bravas Bar de Tapas in Healdsburg. Sangria will be made in batches, flash-pasteurized, and stored in a tank, and wine will come in traditional 250-mL porrónes. The opening date is still unclear, but Chiarello was originally targeting later in the spring, and it seems like things are in good shape for that to go through.