On a recent Saturday night, the new restaurant Le Coin in upper Fremont hummed with activity. Cooks were firing steaks and dressing salads in the open kitchen, while diners filled every table.
For a restaurant that’s nearly brand new, Le Coin already feels essential to the neighborhood, the kind of place where couples on dates are just as at home as groups of friends. And that’s just how Chef Josh Delgado wants it to be.
Le Coin replaced Creole- and Cajun-leaning Roux, which closed in February after four years. That was perfect timing for Le Coin’s majority owner Jordan Melnikoff, who had been shopping around for a place to open a restaurant. Le Coin launched in July.
“We want to be neighborhood-forward,” Delgado says. “We’ve always found it kind of annoying that if you wanted to go out and get good food that often it would be in a pretentious setting and always expensive.”
That mindset means appetizers like bread from the neighborhood’s excellent Sea Wolf Bakers, served with compound butters of-the-moment; grilled carrots with pearled barley, parsley puree and cured tomatoes; and crispy sweetbreads with grilled stone fruit and spiced honey. Entrees balance seafood, meat and vegetarian options, with hazelnut and walnut ravioli, pork chop, Wagyu striploin and a burger on a Sea Wolf bun.
“We’re taking the million things we have available in the area and putting our fun little twist on them, making it approachable,” Delgado says. “We’re not really into gels and foams and things like that, but we do have some luxury items, like foie gras and sweet breads. It’s the type of place we’d want to go to eat.”
For the past few years, Delgado has commuted from Seattle to the Hood Canal, where he led the kitchen at the waterfront Alderbrook Resort and Spa. There, he developed relationships with scores of local producers, from small, family-run oyster farms to produce farmers and more.
Delgado says he became a little snobby about oysters when he worked on the Hood Canal, so those will hit the menu soon and more local items will be coming, too. He’s working with an Ellensburg ranch for beef, as well as local seafood purveyors. He abstains from farmed fish and tries to source responsibly.
On the cocktails menu, drinks range from the tropical White Tea, with rum, coconut, pineapple and orange juice; the boozy Pandemic, with tequila, blackberry, lemon thyme, lime and pink river salt; and a no-nonsense boilermaker called the McNulty, with Henry McKenna bourbon and a Rainier tallboy.
Delgado recently added weekend brunch and he hopes to use the chef’s counter more fully in the future. The open kitchen is front-and-center and bar stools allow diners to watch the cooks at work.
“It’s a tremendous tool for us, for people who want to come in and geek out with us,” Delgado says. He may one day add a chef’s tasting menu, too. Le Coin, French for “the corner,” will hopefully be a go-to restaurant for years to come.