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Le Coin

Fremont's neighborhood hang and destination dining spot

In July of 2018, Le Coin quietly opened in Fremont. Little to no marketing or fanfare. Who is behind this now nearly three-year-old modern French American restaurant?

Jordan Melnikoff and Josh Delgado (photo) met when Jordan was hired at the Barking Frog and Josh was the sous chef; Josh ultimately became the chef de cuisine (read his background here). After both left, they stayed in touch. Josh was the executive chef at Alderbrook Resort & Spa and thinking of moving on when Jordan reached out and said he should meet a guy named Bryce Phillips, the creator/founder of Evo. He also had a restaurant called Commonwealth near Alpental, and they were planning some big projects. The three met at Barking Frog, hit it off, and became partners, first with Commonwealth (which Jordan and Josh are now out of), and then with a restaurant space in Greenwood.

"The Greenwood space fell through the first week after I left Alderbrook in December 2017," says Josh. "All I could think was 'what did I do?' But shortly after, the owner of Roux in Fremont contacted influential friends of our investors. They connected with Bryce and we moved fast. I liked the fact that the space was just down the street from the Book Larder which I really love. We signed the papers in April 2018. Jordan is the majority owner and I'm one of the investors."

They did no major reconstruction, just cosmetic work: paint, floors, removed slate walls (which were cut down and are now used as cheese plates), installed wood pieces to create two walls, added marble counter tops, and an oyster bar up front. Jordan bought mirrors at auction. One of their tables is made from the old bar shelving and is held together with dowels. They put up a new sign and tiles in front and opened in July.

Wagyu, potato puree

"We let the restaurant happen organically in the sense that I had a style of food and service I felt was appropriate and interesting in tandem with what the space lent itself to, and influence from core team members," says Josh. "We source as much as we can locally, using bread from Sea Wolf, some spirits from Fremont Mischief, flour from the Skagit Valley, Foraged & Found, local oysters. We get our foie gras from Quebec; it's just as good and we can charge less for it. I live in Snohomish and I'll stop at farm stands to pick up mustard greens or things we can incorporate here that will look pretty on plates. Ray, one of our cooks, has his own business making really great aprons, TBC Apron Co .; he made ours." The menu includes, of course, a burger, but with Le Coin twists: Mimolette fondue, cured tomatoes, herb aioli, greens. They offer whatever's freshest for the season; seafood, meat, game. Restrictions caused by the pandemic have resulted in happy hour to go and take-out family meal kits like beef bourguinon and cassoulet.

"Lessons have been learned since we've opened," says Josh. "We're a great rainy day spot, so we look for ways to get guests in on nice days. We're very excited to have a sidewalk patio for nice weather; we have four tables in front, and they are always full. Besides the visual exposure, if you turn it three times, it's significant. The area has been winterized so people can dine outside to meet Covid guidelines. We feel that going out shouldn't be so expensive, so we offer things like Sunday night cassoulet with a green salad, and Sunday Oysters and Bubbles (50% off oysters on hand and 30% off bottles), Wine Wednesday with 50% off any wine by the bottle on our list. You can certainly spend money here for a high-end evening, but if you come for cassoulet on Sunday, it's an inexpensive evening. If you want more, you can add foie gras, duck breast, or lamb sirloin. We also have a happy hour Monday through Friday in the lounge when dine-in is possible. Brunch is available on weekends.

Chicken and waffle for brunch

"I started going out to whatever events I could to help spread the word. We've always been very confident in our product and we're small and independent so we can move quickly. We just needed to get people in the door. I did a James Beard event and that, in tandem with some marketing, helped us turn the corner."

Josh and team continually work on consistency. "It's a big deal. We're very guest-centric. We take high-end hotel hospitality and apply it here. It pays off. Each of us have regulars who come in when they know we're here. That usually happens with front of the house staff, but here it also includes cooks. People sit at the chef's counter to ask us questions about cooking at home and whatever else they're interested in. We might slide them tastes of things we're doing. No one leaves without us saying thank you and goodbye. There's lots of eye contact.

"We're a blend of old and new school. We really grind it out and work hard, but we also take care of ourselves and each other. We understand you can't pour from an empty cup. We still have work to do on that! Jordan will cook brunch or serve, and we can cover each other because we all know how to do several jobs. And we all clean!"

Although neighborhood focused, Le Coin has a diverse crowd of people who eat there regularly or come to celebrate a special day. "We have college students from the UW to people celebrating years of being married. We love that there are guests who have become friends. Our brunch crowd is different than our Friday night crowd.

"We always say there's no end line. It's humbling because there's always something to fix or improve or learn. I'm looking forward to seeing what we're like in 2-3 years. We are uniquely us and believe we can be a Seattle 'must visit' establishment."

 Everyone at Le Coin is focused on providing the best experience no matter how many pandemic changes are required. As always in these times, check their website for hours and specials.

Connie Adams/January 2021

Le Coin
4201 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

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