Finally, there appears to be a restaurant in South King County to show off to out of town visitors and for locals to treat themselves to first rate food regularly without driving into Seattle ---- Copperleaf in the Cedarbrook Lodge on 36th Ave S. just off South 188th a few blocks from SeaTac Airport. I read about it in a post by Paqpin ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7223... ) the day after arriving for a 2 1/2 week visit 2 weeks ago and wanted to try it before going home, because my wife’s and my next visit won’t be until Christmas.
We went with our daughter and her family, but didn’t sample much of the menu because I was sick, and our 2 year old granddaughter was running out of patience. I think the menu is designed for diners to construct their own tasting, and, if dining with a like-minded companion, one could put together a very good six or seven course tasting composed of starters, small plates, large plates, and dessert for about $50-$60 pp (food prices only). The starters and small plates are plenty for two people to share as part of a tasting.
The four of us shared 2 starters, 2 small plates, and a dessert. The starters were an heirloom tomato plate and an Estrella Family cheese plate. The tomatoes were a variety of small whole tomatoes and wedges, all peeled, presented with some corn cut from the cob and several different herbs. The tomatoes and corn were very sweet, and the herbs complemented them very well, a great summer dish. The cheese plate contained a camembert-like cheese and three semi-hard cheeses, all excellent. The grilled bread on the plate was especially good. There was also a sprinkling of greens on this plate.
Our small plates were the truffle agnolotti with bacon, English peas, and a bacon cream sauce, topped with a thin black truffle slice; and 2 seared sea scallops with morel caps, peas, a potato fondant and cream sauce with a hint of bacon (the spot prawn small plate was unavailable). The truffle stuffed agnolotti were very good, and though a large size is available, the small size is more than adequate for a tasting. One minor quibble was that the pasta dough was just a shade too thick for me. Also, I’m not a big fan of searing scallops, then saucing them. I think the sweetness of the scallop comes out more with just a simple sear. However, the morel caps were excellent. Oddly, the sauce for both the agnolotti and scallops tasted very similar.
We finished with a shared dessert of a pot of hot chocolate with 2 feathery cake doughnuts and doughnut holes rolled in cinnamon and sugar, Copperleaf’s take on the Spanish hot chocolate and churros. The server brought out the plate of doughnuts, a pot of sweetened vanilla cream, a large crockery pot containing melted Theo 74% cacao and a long handled wooden stick with one end that looked similar to a wood lemon or lime juicer. After pouring the vanilla cream into the pot, our server inserted the stick into the center of the pot, spun it several times to combine ingredients, then placed the lid (which had a hole in the center) over both the stick and pot before pouring the hot chocolate into cups. It was a lovely presentation and a heavenly dessert. I would order the dessert again tomorrow, and would definitely order most of our other dishes if they were on the menu on our next visit.
I really wish we could have sampled another small plate (salmon bacon or duck confit) and a couple of large plates (halibut, lamb shoulder, or rabbit) but it wasn’t meant to be. The dining area is a beautiful space, the interior (you have a grand view of it from the hotel lobby) having a soaring 3 story ceiling and the large windows and wood of a lodge, allowing lots of light and gorgeous views of the lawn, gardens and woods on the property and beyond. A large fireplace sits on the far wall of the inside space. Outdoors there’s a large multi-level deck with small ponds on two sides and the same beautiful view. I wish I’d felt better so I could have taken some pictures of the space and of our dinner. Other than catching glimpses of planes taking off, it’s hard to believe it’s so close to the airport.
Service was professional, friendly, and efficient and enhanced the experience. It’s still very early in this restaurant’s life, but we liked the menu, the food preparation, the ingredients used by the kitchen, the service, and the value. Our daughter and son-in-law live near Lake Sawyer, so it’s still a fairly long drive, but it’s much shorter than a drive to Seattle. We’ll definitely return at Christmas.