To celebrate Valentines day, we usually cook a nice dinner at home. This year, we went out! Well, actually it was the day before Valentines, but it still counts, right? Anyway, my place of choice was Copperleaf, in the Cedarbrook Lodge. With all of the fabulous restaurants in Seattle, I hadn’t expected we’d end up at one in Seatac, of all places… but I’m glad we did! The food was as good, if not better, than I’d expected and had been hearing it was. I suppose it wasn’t all that surprising, being that the Executive Chef, Mark Bodinet, spent his time prior to the Copperleaf as a chef at the French Laundry.

While they did have a special Valentine’s day pre fixe menu, we opted to order off of the regular menu. Here’s what we had:

My starter choice was the foraged mushrooms with grilled leeks, sunchokes, and chives in a sherry vinegar sauce. Mushrooms and leeks are two of my favorite veggies, so it wasn’t hard to please me with this dish. Still, it was exceptional. The sauce was tart and rich, but not overpowering.

Adam’s starter was the creamy chestnut soup with brown butter financier, black truffles, and a bit of nutmeg creme fraiche. I liked how they brought out the bowl with the financier, truffles, and creme, then poured the soup around it. Creamy, slightly sweet, and quite good. Oh, and thankfully for Adam, not overpowered by the truffles.

My entree choice was the Nash Family Farm rabbit with brussels sprouts, garnet yams, and cranberries in a dijon mustard sauce. I’ve never been a huge fan of rabbit, until I had an exquisite plate of it at Cafe Juanita last year. This version? Even better. The meat was moist, mild, and fell apart at the touch of my fork. The accompanying sauce was incredibly rich, and absolutely delicious! Although I’d love to try some of the other menu items here in the future, I’d be hard pressed not to order this dish again. The best rabbit dish I’ve had.

Adam chose the Shriners Farm fallow venison, with gingerbread, sugar pie pumpkin, chestnuts, and cascade huckleberries. Venison, to me, is slightly more gamey than I’d like. This version, however, had nothing gamey about it. In fact, it tasted to me like a really great, moist, tender, and flavorful filet of beef. It was cooked perfectly, with plenty of pink in the middle. The sauce was similar to the one I had with my rabbit, but not quite as rich. A really good rendition of venison!

At our server’s recommendation, we went with the dark chocolate Bavarian, with Holmquist Farm hazelnuts, sponge cake, and pomegranate sorbet. He hadn’t steered me wrong with my starter and entree choices, so I trusted his advise on this. The dessert was good; extremely chocolately and rich, with a nice, tart, accompanying sorbet. There just wasn’t anything particularly exceptional about it to me, and I’d pick a different dessert next time… like maybe those cinnamon donuts we were eyeing.

Overall, a wonderful experience. The dining room is small.. the photo below is about half of the entire dining area. It’s quite cozy, though, plus very quiet and relaxing. The service was also outstanding. As I already mentioned, I turned to our server for advice on my choices, as I couldn’t decide (as usual). I’d originally leaned towards the market greens, and the cod, but the server persuaded me towards the rabbit- at which point, he advised that the mushrooms would be a better compliment to that dish than the greens. Although I’d still like to try both of my second options, I can’t fault him with his recommendations, as I loved both!

Cost: $$$
18525 36th Avenue South, Seattle, WA 98188
(206) 901-9268

Copperleaf Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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