The 51st Portland Food Adventure brought us to the opening night dinner of Coquine, Katy Millard’s highly anticipated French inspired restaurant, nestled at the end of SE Belmont and 69th. Chef Millard started the restaurant with her husband and partner Ksandek Podbielski, and they’ve been hosting extremely popular pop-up dinners around town featuring similar menus for the last 2 years.
We were started off with crisp cocktail named “Dans le Champs”, a dry Gin with green chartreuse, Gran Gala, lemon and sparkling water. We also got the gnocchi fritos, with rosemary lardo and Treviso.
Our second two dishes were crispy duck wings with Calabrian chile and lemon (above) as well as snap peas with honey mustard glaze and black sesame. The duck wings were cooked perfectly with just the right amount of heat to them.
Chef Millard and Ksandek joined us for a full introduction to their restaurant. That night they presented us with the same menu that will be used in their upcoming dinner service, and mentioned they will also be including lunch service following later this month. They expressed how excited they were to finally have their cozy 32-seat restaurant set up, and the stability that will come from having a home base after several years of pop ups.
Above was one of our first courses, a refreshing chilled almond and garlic soup with English peas and nasturtiums. Each course was brilliantly matched with a wine pairing, Podbielski’s specialty. He told us to ask him ‘how nerdy we wanted him to be’ about each wine as he came over to pour for us, as he could give us just the basics or a total in-depth run down.
Our next dish was one of my favorites, roasted and raw carrots with mustards, caperberries, sieved egg and rosemary crumbs. One of the best features of this menu was the seasonal aspect. The dishes were light and airy, with seasonally fresh ingredients that complemented our Portland heat wave perfectly.
I peeked in to the kitchen a couple times as well, and they were having just too much fun! Our next dish up was oil cured Albacore with new potatoes, cucumber and sorrel scallion vinaigrette.
As usual there was lots of great conversation and a light summer-y atmosphere. I also appreciated the playlist running through the evening, and they mentioned spending a lot of time crafting their music choices to reflect the ambiance.
Cheers! Next dish up was Summer Squash with sunflower seed pesto and shaved chanterelles, with a Crowley Willamette Valley Chardonnay.
And our final dish below was pork ribs with black pepper molasses lacquer, charred onion, corn, green beans and padron peppers. Delicious!
And to finish up we were given an array of desserts. This included a French Sparkling Muscat, an almond milk cardamom sorbet with peach soda and almond meringue, and a tray full of various candies and sweets for us to choose from. I loved the French macarons!
All of the staff was so lovely and kind, it was a truly great evening. They set out to make a humble but ambitious neighborhood restaurant, and are really happy with the deep, unique Belmont location where they can serve food that’s elevated but accessible. If the menu this night was any indication, they have certainly succeeded.
Stay tuned for future Portland Food Adventures!