Atlanta restaurant reviews, culinary news, and gluttonous gossip by admitted foodaholic Serina Patrick

Chef Gary Donlick’s Coq au Vin at Bistro Niko


Chef Gary DonlickLongtime Buckhead Life Restaurant Group chef, Gary Donlick, heads the kitchen of Bistro Niko. Donlick’s two decades of experience in the kitchen, classic French training and passion for time-honored cooking techniques make him the perfect selection for the creative bistro menu at Bistro Niko.

Donlick began his career with Buckhead Life Restaurant Group at Chops Lobster Bar, then took over as Executive Chef at 103 West in 1997. Four years later he was named Executive Chef at Pano’s & Paul’s, the flagship of BLRG, long considered an Atlanta institution for luxury dining with its four-star, four-diamond status. (bio courtesy of Buckhead Life Restaurants, photos by Sara Hanna)

Coq au Vin
Serves 4


8 chicken legs, trimmed of excess fat
1 large onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 head garlic, cut in half
1/4 cup chopped thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups dry red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups veal stock (can substitute beef stock)
1 cup pearl onions, peeled
4 ounces bacon, diced
1 pound button mushrooms
3 tablespoons minced chives


1. In large pot, combine the chicken legs, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Cover with red wine and marinate overnight in the fridge. The next day, remove the chicken, reserving the marinade. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

2. Preheat a Dutch oven or large pot to high heat. Add the vegetable oil and sauté the chicken legs until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the chicken, set aside, and discord the oil. Add fresh oil and sauté the reserved vegetables from the marinade until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the reserved red wine from marinade, bring to a simmer and stir with a wooden spoon to release browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Cook until wine is reduced half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the veal stock and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken back to the simmering liquid, cover with a lid and cook until the chicken is tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

4. While the chicken is cooking, blanch the pearl onions in simmering water for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

5. Cook the bacon in a sauté pan until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon, set aside and add the mushrooms to the same pan, cooking until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the blanched onions and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

6. Remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and strain the liquid into another pan, discarding the vegetables. Bring the cooking liquid to a simmer, skimming sauce to remove excess fat. Simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 15 minutes and return the chicken to pot. Add the browned mushrooms, pearl onions and bacon and simmer for 20 minutes. Garnish with minced chives and serve.


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