cedarbrook.jpg
The Cedarbrook Lodge, soon to be home to the new Copperleaf Restaurant
When you think "airport hotel restaurant" what's the first thing that comes to

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New Copperleaf Restaurant Announced: When You Think Sustainability, Think SeaTac!

cedarbrook.jpg
The Cedarbrook Lodge, soon to be home to the new Copperleaf Restaurant
When you think "airport hotel restaurant" what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Crappy "continental breakfasts" of cold scrambled eggs, watery coffee and stale danishes that've been touched by all the guys in town for the plumbing fixtures convention?

Massive plates of Fiesta Nachos cooked by slumping troglodytes on their third day of prison work-release?

A bar full of jet trash, bewildered German tourists and drunken middle-managers from Indianapolis all hitting on the teenage cocktail waitresses because, after seeing Up In The Air on the plane, they now all think they're George Clooney and feel like inflicting their mid-life crises on the first girl that looks at them with anything less than complete and total scorn?

Wrong! The correct answer (apparently) is sustainability--or at least that's what the folks behind the new Copperleaf Restaurant (being outfitted now in the Cedarbrook Lodge down near SeaTac) want you to think. Sustainability and locality and wetlands and critters and all that good stuff. And from the look of things, they're willing to spend a friggin' mint to make you believe it.

Though not yet ready for the public (it's set to open around June), Copperleaf looks to be a massively earth-friendly undertaking--a 34-seat restaurant (not counting the patio) that's incorporating composting, water reclamation and an on-site farm just to see to the needs of its kitchen. Its order sheets read like a who's-who of local gastro-crushes--Theo Chocolate, Armandino Batali of Salumi, Joe Malley from Fishing Vessel St. Jude (meaning line-caught, blast-frozen tuna), Bernie Nash of the Mad Hatcher Farm, Estrella Family Creamery, Snake River Farms and Painted Hills beef--and the top-end crew brings some serious weight to the game as well. Roy Breiman is on staff as the culinary director (ex of the Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, and one of the best hotel chefs in America, according to Bon Appetit), and in the kitchen itself will be Mark Bodinet, just back from five years as saucier at the French Laundry.

Yes, that French Laundry. Nice, right?

According to the release that went out this morning, the menu looks to be shaping up like a Northwest farmers and ranchers ingredient orgy. Check it out: "Butter Lettuce Salad with shaved culatello prosciutto, niçoise olives, "Black Creek Butter" cheese, sweet onions and garlic pretzels; Foie Gras "Torchon" with butter-pear relish, endive, brown butter and currant bread; "Snake River" Pork Belly with Ozette potatoes, preserved cherries and maple reduction; Painted Hills Beef Sirloin Burger with dijonaise, tomato jam and butter lettuce on a potato roll; Air-Dried Tagliatelle with "Foraged & Found" mushrooms and sherry crème; and Victoria Island Scallops with cauliflower, yellow foot chanterelles and Willamette Valley filberts."

Still, I trust the chops of a guy who did five years with Thomas Keller, and am excited to see how Bodinet and Breiman bring this all together. Hotel restaurants are not usually my scene (mostly because they almost always suck for precisely the reasons mentioned above), but after the guys have had a few weeks to work out the kinks, it looks like I'm going to be making a trip down to SeaTac.

And something tells me Fiesta Nachos ain't gonna be on the board.

 
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