Sponsored Feature | Charcoal cuisine features inspired Northwest favorites
Last updated 1/13/2022 at 1:12pm
For years, Edmonds has been transforming itself from a sleepy town on the Sound into a destination location. Restaurants, art galleries, boutique retailers and other attractions, combined with postcard-perfect views, have transformed it into a magical place for residents and visitors alike.
Charcoal, a new fine dining experience that has already attracted widespread acclaim, celebrates the best of those attributes. It offers inventive, original fare in a gallery-like, modernist setting that is at the same time spatial and inviting.
Charcoal is the brainchild of Founder and Chef Jake Wilson and a handpicked team of other seasoned restaurateurs, including General Manager Jin Link, and Chefs de Cuisine Keigan Powell and Seth Prigg.
Together they have designed a menu that features familiar ingredients presented in new, innovative ways – what Wilson calls "modern American."
Link said their process includes choosing ingredients that combine enhanced flavors with the element of surprise. "You might think it sounds familiar," he said, "but we do it differently."
Take, for example, Charcoal's Pan Seared Scallops, which feature Swiss chard, romanesco, pancetta, and golden beet puree. "But the big surprise," Link said, "is the jalapeño tartar. It's not what you'd expect."
Also popular is the Grilled King Salmon. Every Northwest restaurant serves salmon, right? But not like Charcoal's. Their wild caught salmon comes with Yukon gold potatoes, caramelized Brussels sprouts, shallot marmalade, carrot top pesto and pinot noir gastrique (a tart sweet and sour sauce).
Other main courses include charcoal grilled steaks (New York Strip or Ribeye with Yukon gold & broccoli gratin, cauliflower cream, parsley & horseradish puree), Pork Tenderloin (with sweet potato custard, apple cabbage slaw, almond gremolata and basil honey), Duck Leg Confit (with zucchini & crimini succotash, frisée, roasted garlic balsamic and carrot purée), and a Charcoal Smash Burger (with balsamic onion, smoked gouda, dijonnaise and house fries), which a recent diner described as "jaw-dropping delicious."
Charcoal also offers small plates, such as Pacific Oysters Rockefeller (with spinach, parmesan, bacon and pastis), Manila Clams (with romanesco, bacon, worcestershire broth, smoked paprika butter and toasted baguette) and Pork Belly (with butternut squash, sesame, braised greens, cilantro and coconut molasses).
Obviously, much thought, experimenting and fine-tuning went into each dish on the menu, providing mouth-watering surprises.
Wilson said their menu will be an ongoing work in progress, starting with weekend specials that, if popular, could be added later as regular fare. Their first experiment last weekend was grilled Black Cod prepared with a white miso marinade.
They'll take their time. "We don't want to overload it," Link said. "We want to be consistent."
As the name suggests, Charcoal's centerpiece is its custom-built charcoal grill, which features racks that can be raised or lowered for precise grilling of different foods. They fire it up with the best available charcoal, Quebracho Blanco, which is made from dense South American hardwoods, popularly known as Axe Breaker, that make a heavy, long-burning charcoal.
It burns hotter and cleaner with minimal smoke, providing excellent flavor for seafood, meat and vegetables.
Of course, Charcoal's beverage menu offers a nice variety of regional and international wines, as well as adventurous cocktails like the Smoke Wagon (Old Forester 86 bourbon, carpano antica, nocino and laphroiag rinse), Dancing with the Cosmos (green tea infused vodka, house cranberry liqueur, mint raspberry syrup, lemon, triple) and Vampire Brite (broker's London dry gin, yellow chartreuse, lillet rose).
The members of Charcoal's team have been long-time Edmonds' residents or co-workers at some of Puget Sound's finest restaurants, so they each bring specific skills and a complementary sense of what guests want in a fine dining establishment.
In just two months, they're seeing repeat, regular customers. Its stylish, yet comfortable atmosphere attracts everyone from discerning Boomers to tech-savvy Millennials and other young professionals.
Consequently, they're getting increasing requests for birthday, anniversary and other special occasion reservations.
But even if it's going to be just you and a partner or other couple, reservations are highly recommended. For the adventurous who harbor an optimistic streak, walk-ins without reservations can sometimes find a seat at the bar.
Located in the new Graphite Arts Center at 202B Main St., Charcoal will feature ever-changing works of art and host a variety of arts-related events, Wilson said.
The result? A gathering place for the people who helped, and continue to help, make Edmonds a destination. "It's not just a restaurant," Wilson said. "It's a community."