The Coup (+Meet) in Calgary is one of the more unique restaurant/lounges I’ve encountered across Alberta. I wish I could categorize it’s cuisine to Central American, Mediterranean, or Asian-fusion, but The Coup seems to take influence from all over to create a comfortable, calm atmosphere, and an intriguing menu.
Restaurant type: Fresh/local, Vegetarian+Organic friendly, Modern+Complex, Tapas, Drinks
Honest flavour: 7/10 - The Coup serves a variety of well thought out flavours, and most of what my party and I ordered we were impressed with. We started with a variety of appetizers on the Meet side of the restaurant, and then moved to the Coup side for dinner. The yam fries were cut large and were seasoned nicely, but I found the miso sauce to be overly salty for my tastes. We also had fun with the charCOUPterie, their cheese and preserves plate which offered many enjoyable combinations. My favorite dish of the evening was the mushroom faux gras cigars- melt in your mouth phyllo pastries filled with a whipped mushroom & thyme. Though I don’t consider myself a mixed drink expert, my mojito was extremely flavourful with fresh lime and mint rolling around my glass. Being a huge reuben fan, I ordered the Grazer burger as my main. I was fascinated by such critical changes to a classic with tempeh, and a spicy horseradish tomato sauce, though I wasn’t as impressed with the result as I had hoped. With such a variety of flavours from the appetizer menu, I was expecting a whirlwind of complexity from the sandwich that just didn’t seem to happen. I can’t say it was bad- it just didn’t seem to have the same pop that many of the other dishes we had already enjoyed seemed to offer.
Ingenuity of flavour: 8/10 - The Coup doesn’t necessarily fit it’s menu into one specific world cuisine, yet it still offers a sense of continuity and focus. The ideas of fresh, local, and organic are apparent in each of the menu offerings, and the flavours and textures found in each dish are interesting, complex, and atypical to similar dishes I’ve enjoyed from other restaurants. The mushroom faux gras cigars were exceptionally light with a smooth texture, and completely devoid of the heavy, overly pungent taste that truffle oil sometimes masks a dish with. Perfect. The Coup seems to incorporate irregular ingredients and innovative combinations of flavours into many of their dishes, such as kamut noodles with coconut tomato sauce, or spicy cashew pesto with mint and basil. These are the combinations I look for in a new hip restaurant like The Coup, and I’m glad they’re bold enough to offer them. Perhaps even more consuming than the tapas and dinner menus is the extensive drink menu with an array of fun, exciting flavours to sample. With cocktails like the dark and stormy masala with Jamaican ginger beer, black rum, lemon-lime, garam masala spice & angostura bitters, or one of their fresh-pressed drinks like the snoop dogg: fresh juiced celery with apple fennel & celery bitters and bull dog gin- I can promise you you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a drink like you’ve never had before.
Restaurant Vibe: 10/10 - The Coup + Meet has interesting food, and an astounding drink selection, but where it really shines is in the atmosphere of the room. Being that it’s essentially two rooms and a patio, The Coup + Meet offers options that seemed to allow our evening to progress in a way that just wouldn’t be possible at a restaurant without these different moods. We started with drinks+tapas in the Meet lounge: the darker, more seductive, more adult room. There was a live DJ who was spinning downtempo, jazz, trip hop, and chillout who offered the perfect canvas for conversation; and with Meet’s low tables, dim lighting, and relaxing ambiance, I was in heaven. The Yang to this dark, lounge area is Coup’s main dining area- a lighter, more refreshing vibe that plays well with their lighter dinner menu. The Coup’s brighter room also opens to the small patio area in front of the restaurant, bringing the street sounds and a more urban, busy vibe to this side of the restaurant. This concept of Yin and Yang is obviously thought out, and very apparent in the differences in menus and in atmospheres between the Meet and Coup sides of this remarkable space.
Overall Value: 8/10 - With only one item on the menu over the $20 mark, it’s hard to say anything at The Coup is overpriced. Though some of the appetizers we shared were small, the flavours were primarily bold and exciting, and I typically don’t want a huge portion when the flavours are so potent. Two can dine comfortably with appetizers, dinner and drinks for under $100, and I feel this is on par for a restaurant of this type. The service was comfortable and upbeat, and I appreciated our server’s willingness to answer our questions about the menu.
Final Thoughts: All in all I was much more impressed with The Coup’s subtleties than the main course I received, but all these subtleties seem to make up for the few smaller ‘misses’ this restaurant had. The room certainly has a feeling to it, and that feeling along with the willingness to offer exciting new flavours takes The Coup from a typical tapas and light fare restaurant to an evening spot I will definitely return to.