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.
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.
This bite-sized spot, from wife-and-husband team Katy Millard and Ksandek Podbielski, opened last summer to instant success. They focus on hyperseasonal ingredients paired with a constantly evolving list of wines from small producers, 30 percent of which are made in Oregon.