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Le Coin


Loving Le Coin is not difficult. Its diverse menu covers a lot of ground: it has an amazing bar program; you can spend a small amount or go hog wild; you can brunch, lunch, or enjoy an evening out. What more can these people do? Here goes.

Chef Josh Delgado always has potentials on his mind. One of these was finding a small plot where he could grow things to use at the restaurant. He's been looking for the past year and, in the interim, turned his PM cook Brett's backyard on Beacon Hill into a mini farm (with permission). Every day, Brett would arrive at the restaurant with a couple of large to-go-size boxes of garnishes.

Josh discovered Tangled Willows farm in Snohomish that was raising geese and began buying them for the restaurant. "Geese a la carte on a menu is very unusual, so it was fun to add that," he says. "We began an Instagram relationship with the owner where I'd send photos of the dishes we made. One day she posts that she wanted to get out of farming and would anyone be interested in renting the land. I immediately said yes without knowing anything about it. Turns out it's almost three acres which was more than I was thinking about. I let it marinate for a while, then she asked if I'd like to come see it. It's in a flood plain, so structures can't be built. There were a few geese and ducks and some infrastructure; basically turnkey, including all the fencing we would need. The soil seems great, with lots of earth worms. At one time, there were 200 birds there. Five minutes and I was in. It's less than a mile from my house."

Always interested in growing food, Josh had a small plot at DeLille's Chateau where he grew things he couldn't find at stores like arrowhead spinach, borage, miner's lettuce, and sunchokes. He worked at a restaurant on Camano Island for a short time where they had a one-acre farm and grew tomatoes, summer squash, and golden raspberries. He had so many nasturtiums he made golden pesto from the flowers and leaves.

"Ultimately at this farm, I'd be thrilled to grow 25% of what we use at the restaurant. "We'll be looking at growing things that are expensive to buy-garnishes, edible flowers, maybe watercress and wasabi. I'd also like to have farm classes, and dinners where we harvest and cook at an outdoor kitchen. The day I signed the lease, I found out one of our associates, Katie, had signed up to learn agricultural design. We started planning what we'd want to do in March, and hopefully by summer we'll be on our way. It will be rustic. There are Guardian geese and Muscovy ducks; it's great to have animals on the land. I'm finding I really like taking care of them. We use their eggs, but not their meat. They're basically living their lives out on the farm. I don't know what I don't know, but I do know it will be a tremendous amount of work. There's a lot of interest at the restaurant, so I think people will want to work there and at the farm. If it goes well, we'll eventually have to hire someone to run it."

After five years in business, Josh, his business partner Jordan, and the staff have stayed true to their original goals. "I'm super proud that we are honest about our work, but still don't take ourselves too seriously. This is, hands down, the best staff I've ever worked with. We originally said we wanted to have a restaurant we'd want to work in, and I would have loved to work here. We take care of the staff as well as we can and offer healthcare. It's really a teaching kitchen and we rarely hire experienced chefs. I love to see people develop, and we have a really low turnover rate. The front of the house is amazing. They're professional, mature, and have a sense of dignity about what we do. They love to communicate to guests what's happening in the kitchen, and are passionate about food, wine, and spirits. We're all here to create an experience."

There are many facets to what they do. "It's probably a stupid business model," laughs Josh. "We do a lot of things, from oysters to hamburgers, it's a robust program with a bar experience that puts cocktails before food, the chef's counter, happy hour food, brunch, and lunch. Our bar program is as good as a high-end cocktail bar. Our lead bartender, Matt, preps like a cook, making spruce tip syrup, and caramelized pineapple. We have a geeky wine list. We do a lot but stay dialed in." They've created a very loyal following, and learned via the pandemic that people trust them and will follow them whatever they try. "We're now dry aging poultry and fish at the restaurant. Dry aging fish has been a revelation, it's noticeably better. We're looking into ocean farming. It would be so cool to have a land farm and ocean farm; I'd love to cook with more ocean vegetables like sea beans and seaweed. We had a Northwest bisque on the menu with a tremendous amount of seaweed int it and everyone loved it and had no idea seaweed was there.

"We're uniquely us, no one is quite like us. We're never not learning. We do events outside the restaurant, like Field to Table at Lumen Field, and our Hood Canal Takeover, in its second year. We want to continue to cook outside of our walls. We love this industry."

Connie Adams/April 2023

Le Coin
4201 Fremont Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

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