2017 JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINEE: Best Chef: Northwest
What makes a great neighborhood restaurant? Well, there has to be not-too-complicated, always satisfying food—the kind you can eat three nights a week and never get tired of. This is precisely the type of cooking that comes naturally to Coquine chef Katy Millard, who serves a juicy roast chicken family-style and prepares rustic craveable pastas, like curlicues called girella, coated with milk-braised pork ragù and topped with bits of crunchy fried sunchoke. The food also must be served in a comfortable room, like this corner space, decorated in the subtle earth tones and woven tapestries that tend to show up in the homes of people who’ve lived in Portland a long time. In a truly ideal scenario, the homey food and room are rounded out by a surprisingly ambitious wine list, and here that is most certainly the case, thanks to Millard’s husband, Ksandek Podbielski, who oversees the fun, funky, but still super-friendly selection.
We listened to the hum of night falling and marveled at our good fortune as chef Katy Millard, a veteran of Maison Troisgros in France and Coi in San Francisco, composed plainspoken poems with greens and fava beans and squid. The meal crested with a roast chicken, its skin crispy and glazed. If things got quieter at that point, it’s only because we were speechless.
Before they opened, chef Katy Millard and Ksandek Podbielski knew exactly what they wanted from Coquine.
The restaurant would be a reflection of themselves, a place to deposit all their passions and quirks, a second home for friends and an outlet for the farms where they held their first pop-ups. It would be formal enough for special occasion meals, yet not so fussy you couldn't drop by for a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta.