SEATAC, WA: Copperleaf Restaurant - A "Must" for Foodies

The Copperleaf Restaurant in the Cedarbrook Lodge is a welcome – and overdue -- addition to the dining scene in south King County. Now that I’ve visited a second time, I say it’s a “must” for foodies.

On a recent rainy night, as my wife and I were being seated at a table near the crackling fire, I thought, “This could be the start of a beautiful evening!” How right I was!

We started with a pair of Washington wines: a Sauvignon Blanc for my bride and a Pinot Gris for me. While the Sauv Blanc was pleasant with hints of citrus, it was the Pinot Gris and its fuller body that we both preferred.

The cuisine was impressive indeed: well prepared and artfully presented. Given the credentials in the kitchen, I should not have been surprised.

Executive Chef Mark Bodinet’s resume includes five years at the vaunted French Laundry in northern California – an impressive credential indeed. The culinary director, Roy Breiman, came from the Salish Lodge and several servers and other staff followed him, including our server Adam.

For appetizers, my wife ordered a creamy chestnut soup with brown butter financier, black truffles, and nutmeg crème fraiche. I had the late-harvest figs with marinated fennel, cullatello proscuitto, wild arugula, and toasted coriander. The small, football-shaped rolls accompanied by butter topped with sea salt disappeared, but replacements arrived with equal speed.

The main courses were delicious. My wife’s seared scallops were perfectly cooked, with a nice crust on the outside, warm throughout, and without a hint of being undercooked. I opted for the Shriner’s Farm fallow venison with gingerbread, sugar pie pumpkin, chestnuts, and Cascade huckleberries. The two medium-rare medallions were tender and tasty, with just a hint of the game flavor that makes such meats so enjoyable.

During my previous visit, I perused the bar menu and sampled a couple of their signature drinks; both the nibbles and the sippables were quite inventive. The small bar boasts some creative cocktails, including a Bloody Mary made with Bakon vodka. (What else would you use a bacon-flavored vodka for, I ask you?)

Despite its size, the bar boasts an impressive variety of West Coast wines, from Seattle to Oregon’s Willamette Valley to California – but not the “grocery store” variety you’ll find everywhere; they’re more along the lines of Hop Kiln Winery, a small establishment which few winebibbers beyond the locals know.

Copperleaf is a small restaurant – only 34 seats, not counting the bar – so reservations will become more necessary as word of this delightful find gets out.

With outstanding food, excellent service, and prices that are quite reasonable by fine-dining standards, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we became regulars!

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