Downtown Eats: The Dumb Coq

The Dumb Coq is a relatively new hipster bistro located at the cusp of Chinatown and Downtown Honolulu on the mauka (mountain) side of King Street, between Nuuanu and Bethel. It’s well within a progressive lunch hopping walk to similar contemporary ‘n hip downtown Honolulu eateries Lucky Belly, Livestock Tavern and The Pig & the Lady, to name a few.

Note, The Dumb Coq as of yet doesn’t have a permanent sign, thus blink as you walk or drive down King Street (one way) as you approach downtown Honolulu and you might miss it. Look for this black-trimmed frontage, with the small sandwich board sign on the sidewalk…

The Dumb Coq got its arguably “catchy”, brow-raising name by 34 year old owner Yoon Kim, who explains “Coq” as being French for Rooster, representing the Chinese Zodiac year he was born. After toying with clever spins on “Coq”, he came up with the name after reading that roosters will sit on eggs to signal to hens their worthiness as a potential and protective mate.

That in mind, along with the fact this restaurant and bar took over two years of arduous labor to build out with his own hands, along with help from his GM, Ricky Chavez, he settled on “The Dumb Cock” as a nod to the rooster’s fruitless-yet-chivalrous attempt at being attractive. That’s actually quite smart!

Let’s take a look around…

The Dumb Coq’s taste in art…

Owner Yoon Kim is originally from Connecticut, thus he says The Dumb Coq’s dishes are inspired from the general New England region up in the northeast. The menu is quite minimalist, yet Kim wants to keep it that way for the time being, emphasizing that he wants to focus on QUALITY of every dish that leaves the kitchen, not quantity. He said he’ll eventually expand the menu with pasta and other personal favorites as logistics allow.

That said, here’s The Dumb Coq lunch menu, current as of 3.22.16…

Short ‘n sweet. Looks good, except guess what? Before we said a thing (placed our order), the server came flat out and announced “Sorry guys, no burgers today”. What? That’s what two people in our party were interested in trying, is “The Dumb Coq Burger”,  and you’re OUT? Preposterous! Outrage! Can’t be! He apologized, saying their food delivery company forgot to include their beef for the morning drop-off. He actually went back to see if the delivery driver returned yet with the Makaweli beef used to make their burgers, but no dice.

Since they were out of “The Dumb Coq Burger”, Diner E opted instead of an entree, to go with The Dumb Coq Pork Belly Sliders…

Side of fries for the Pork Belly Sliders…

Diner A, who also wanted The Dumb Coq Burger, opted for the next closest thing, the Coq Sandwich…

The Dumb Coq’s Grilled Chicken Sandwich that is, described as having 6 ounces of grilled chicken breast, smoked Gouda, butter lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayo served on grilled sourdough bread along with with shoestring fries.

While Yours Truly always eats out at restaurants with the mentality of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, and sampled The Dumb Coq’s Coq Monsieur…

The Dumb Coq’s Coq Monsieur — properly spelled as Croque-Monsieur — is made of ham, melted Gruyere cheese, dijon, Bachamel on toasted sourdough.

A closer look at my Coq Monsieur…

and? In retrospect, gosh dang it, I should have opted for the Coq Monsieur Madame, which also includes an egg over it. Sunny side up, yolk drippin’ all over it of course!

Still, this was a mighty fine take what would essentially be a “France enhanced” version of your classic ham ‘n cheese sammy. The melted Gruyere cheese, along with the Dijon and Bachamel sauce, coupled with the smokey ham and melted cheese over the toasty sourdough all worked together in VERY tasty harmony. The sourdough itself is pretty chewy, which gives the sandwich even more substance.

Diner A gave me a slice of his Dumb Coq Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and that was fantastic, with the grilled chicken being SUPER moist, with a nice sear on the outside.

I also tried an entire half of one Diner E’s Dumb Coq Pork Belly Sliders, and that was EXCELLENT. The pork belly was juicy, tasty ‘n tender, with a nice crispy finish on the outside, while the generous heap of slaw topping it was excellent as well, wonderfully complimenting the roasted pork belly and Hawaii Sweet Roll bun encasing it.

Since we only ordered three dishes off their still brief menu of thirteen items, or, err, make that twelve, since the Coq Burger wasn’t available at the time of our visit ($##@$@^^&!!!), here’ s some of the other  Dumb Coq faves, as raved about by Yelpers…


The Dumb Coq’s Lil’ Tacos. Photo source: Yelper Daniel.


The Dumb Coq’s Moules Frites. Photo source: Yelper Fati


The Dumb Coq’s Cobb Salad. Photo source: Yelper Vanessa


The Dumb Coq’s Black & Bleu Salad with Chicken. Photo source: Yelper Makamae


The Dumb Coq’s French Onion Soup. Photo source: Yelper Austin


The Dumb Coq’s Chicken Saltimbocca. Photo Source: Yelper Frank


The Dumb Coq’s Steak & Potatoes. Photo source: Yelper Makamae


The Dumb Coq’s Coq Burger. Photo source: Yelper Pam

When Yoon is ready to expand the menu, playing off the name, here’s a few obvious and “punny” suggestions:

  • Dumb Coq Au Vin – the French braised chicken classic
  • Shrimp Dumb CoqTail – Kauai Shrimp, boiled whole in Honolulu Beer Works IPA, served with house CoqTail sauce, made with North Shore Tomatoes and LOADS of horseradish and wasabi
  • Dumb Coq Fight – House seasoned ‘n grilled Chicken & Pork Belly skewers with Filipino-inspired Adobo dipping sauce
  • The Big Dumb Coq – 20 oz. slab of Kulana Big Island Prime Rib Roast Beef, served with a Loaded Baked Potato
  • Dumb Coq Sausage Fest* – a threesome of house-made smoked turkey tail, chicken breast and duck foie gras sausage links, served with fries and creamy Dijon dipping sauce
  • Dumb Coq ‘n Balls* – Coq au vin Spaghetti with two massively fertile turkey tail, tri-tip beef and pork belly meatballs
  • Limp Dumb Coq* – signature mixed hard liquor Oyster shooter
  • Hard Dumb Coq* – signature mixed hard liquor double shot
  • The Dumb CoqTail – the talk-of-Honolulu-town’s signature mixed drink

*Not printed, yet part of the “secret menu”, available upon request

…and the list goes on and on and on. lol

As for the service, I have to give our server a high five for pretty much staying on top of not just us, but everyone else in The Dumb Coq. Only he and a manager worked the floor, and they did a mighty fine job during the busy lunch time rush hour we spent there.

Even while running around like a chicken without a head, or err, rooster without a head, our server went out of his way to ask the manager to comp the side of fries, and also take the next photo, all the while being very friendly and as accommodating as he could squeeze time for our table. For that, I shall commend them in kind when I leave my Yelp review along this one.


Diner E, Diner A and Pomai finish up lunch at The Dumb Coq in downtown Honolulu. 3.22.16

Our order arrived in about 15 minutes, which was surprisingly fast, where we thought we’d wait much longer. Everything we ordered was spot-on, seasoned and cooked to perfection, absolutely delicious and presented nicely.

The ambiance is also in a word, “cool”. Enough said.

Overall from this first-time visit, I would definitely recommend The Dumb Coq. Get some! ;-)

The Dumb Coq
12 South King Street Suite 101
Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

Tel. (808) 589-5999

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good/Excellent > equivalent to 4 Yelp stars

Related links:
The Dumb Coq – Yelp user reviews
First Look: The Dumb Coq – Honolulu Magazine (Don Wallace)
Something New: The Dumb Coq – Frolic Hawaii (Grant Shindo)