Coquine Opens Brick and Mortar Location Complete with Fantastic Wine and Cocktail Program
“Our goal is to be a good restaurant and a good experience”, says Ksandek Podbielski, the wine director and one-half of the married couple that runs Coquine. A simple sentiment, but one that underlies every aspect of dining here—an unadorned, approachable menu with perfectly coordinated elements.
Coquine originally manifested as a series of Oregon farm dinners hosted by Ksandek and his wife Katy Millar, a chef trained at Michelin starred restaurants in France, who then worked at San Francisco’s famed Coi before moving to Portland. After a while, the two transitioned to a series of pop-up dinners around town, where they became acquainted with Marc Dyer (pictured below), formerly of the Tannery Bar, whose approach to cocktails and hospitality matched their own. In July, the team took over the defunct Songbird’s building on the corner of SE 69th and Belmont, on the shoulder of Mt. Tabor. This beautiful and welcoming space is right in Ksandek and Katy’s neighborhood, the perfect spot for their homey style and warm hospitality.
“Accessible” is often used in a dismissive tone to describe food and wine, but it’s hard to find a better term to describe the program at Coquine, though “delicious” is definitely appropriate. “Seasonal” is another; menus change regularly to reflect the ambient temperature.
Menus are developed in concert. What matters to Ksandek is that each glass of wine is food-friendly, perfectly pairable with Katy’s vegetable-focused menu, and also able to be quaffed on its own. Currently, for summer, the wines are light: crisp whites and refreshing rosés, light-bodied pinots, and medium-bodied red blends, as well as a variety of aperitifs. The program is rooted in Oregon and the Willamette Valley, though it extends to all areas of the globe, from Old World to New. The optional pairings for Katy’s four-course tasting menu are drawn from both the glass-pour list and the bottles.
Likewise, Marc’s cocktail menu is meant to be paired with food, with the first four items on the dinner menu always standing as cocktail bites, such as the delicious and summery snap peas
with honey mustard glaze and black sesame, or the fluffy and light gnoccho fritto with rosemary lardo and treviso (a type of radicchio). Marc’s drinks mimic Katy’s approach to food—farm to table, seasonal, and local. For the hotter months, the menu provides refreshing, quenching drinks. The Summery Gin & Tonic (pictured above with lime) is one of the best in town, with a touch of melon-cucumber agua fresca to make it extra refreshing, while still obviously a gin & tonic. Equally delicious is the Sonoran Orchard, a tequila egg-white sour with black cherry shrub and a wild cherry wood extract atomized over the top.
The cocktail menu, besides changing month to month or so, generally features one drink for each popular spirit: A whiskey, gin, vodka, and rum drink, along with a sparkling cocktail. For the summer, the sparkling cocktail is a variation on the Corpse Reviver, with vodka, green chartreuse, and sparkling wine.
Currently, Coquine is only open for dinner, from 5–10 PM, Wednesday through Sunday. Soon, they plan on opening at 8 AM to operate as a cafe, serving Katy’s amazing pastries, as well as Stumptown single origin coffees. Like everything else at Coquine, the coffee will change with the season, featuring lighter roasts from individual farms in the summer, and darker ones in the fall and winter. A light lunch menu will also appear in the next month or so, as hours change and the staff settles in.
Coquine, 6839 SE Belmont St.; 503-384-2483
Photos by Alexander Frane
Tags: Cocktails, Food, Wine