The transformation of Seattle’s South Lake Union from a quiet area of light industry and wholesale florists to a neighborhood of high-rise office buildings housing Amazon’s global empire has not been all business.
Dining: Hey, Girlfriend!
Copine brings exquisite dining to Ballard.
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During its tenure, Book Bindery was a beloved contemporary American restaurant on the north side of Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood. Executive chef Shaun McCrain and general manager Jill Kinney nurtured it into one of the city’s fine-dining staples. He crafted beautifully refined, French-inspired cuisine; she assembled a rock-star team and ran the house with gusto. The couple left in summer 2014 to realize their dream of opening an approachable, high-end neighborhood spot of their own. Book Bindery buffs will be thrilled to know that spot has arrived.
The 60-seat Copine (pronounced ko-peen, French for girlfriend or pal) opened in July at the base of the new, mixed-use Ballard Public Lofts, and it is exquisite. From the Tom Kundig-designed open kitchen to the soothing, neutral tones of the furniture, every detail has been carefully curated, down to the tiny fork “stands” that hold McCrain’s ever-changing, innovative amuse-bouches, such as melt-in-your-mouth citrus-cured salmon with roe.
McCrain’s time as sous-chef at New York’s world-renowned Per Se (2004-2008) informs much of his creativity, his edge. So a classic like foie gras ($20), tempered to a soft-butter consistency, is reimagined as a terrine, with thin layers of savory duck leg confit and cherry gelée. Pillowy, handmade agnolotti ($22), perhaps stuffed with squash or pumpkin, is topped with a veal-stock-based brown-butter emulsion cut with lemon juice to make your palate crave bite after balanced bite. Accompaniments like falafel (alongside a sensational rack of lamb, $34) are transformed, in this case with the use of organic bulgur for a moister, more toothsome bite.
When the couple ran Book Bindery, many customers wanted to pick up food to go. So, while Copine is only open for dinner, it has added a cold case, dubbed Copine Project, featuring grab-and-go soups and composed salads (11 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4:30–7 p.m., Tuesdays–Fridays; noon–4 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays). Larger items, such as roast chicken or porchetta, also are available on Sundays.
Seattle’s booming economy means that fine-dining establishments are continuing to open at record speed. Make sure Copine is on your list.
Ballard, 6460 24th Ave. NW; 206.258.2467; copineseattle.com