Restaurant News: Pacific NW-inspired dishes at Edmonds’ Charcoal, plus time to think about Thanksgiving

Charcoal owner chef Jake Wilson

New restaurant Charcoal opened officially last Friday. Owner chef Jake Wilson, who hails from Edmonds, heads up the culinary team at the most recent establishment to open in our area. Located at 202B Main St., inside the Graphite Arts Center, they are open for dinner seven days a week, 4-9 p.m.

Pacific Nothwest-inspired dishes are executed on a custom-built Argentinian charcoal-fired grill, which is the centerpiece of the kitchen. Pleasant aromas waft through the restaurant  and are sure to inspire guests to choose dishes with main ingredients seared to perfection over the coals.

Acoustics in the space are well done- Even at the end of my meal, as space became fairly crowded with people talking and enjoying their food, conversation across our table remained pleasant. I noticed varied heights in the ceiling, which may control the volume of sounds.

A diverse menu holds choices sure to delight diners. Whether one opts to splurge on either cut of beef steak or sample from an assortment of small plates, I believe every diner will leave sated.

More tastes are better, especially on the first go, in my humble opinion, and I’m happy to share the results of my foray into the small plates section.

Roasted Brussels Sprout Cesar: The salad stars young, tender Brussels sprouts, dressed with lemony and Parmigianino flavor, with maybe a hint of the anchovies? The crispiness on the edges of the sprouts truly eliminates the need for traditional croutons. Bits of brioche cause the dressing to cling nicely to grilled veggies and the amount of cheese balances the sweetness of the lemon.

A fan of Pork Belly since I first tasted Rene Erikson’s rendition at Boat Street many years ago, I order when I see it on menu. Charcoal offers up a superb portion, sliced into wedges that allow one to enjoy the crisp, caramelized texture of the skins sliced just thin enough that each section didn’t put too much of the chewy flavorful skin into the mouth at one time.  Butternut squash sauce and an accent of coconut molasses on the plate provided sweetness to the meat. Accompanying greens accented the flavor of meat and vegetables.

Grilled Octopus delighted my taste buds. Crispy little tentacles served up in just-perfect portions and provided room on the fork for tiny bits of potato and a swish through the aïoli sauce. Ingredients complemented the seafood, along with the slices of greens.

Duck Leg Confit literally fell off the bones, no knife needed. Tender skin, well seasoned and peppery, played nicely with a good sprinkling of greens that made the appearance colorful. Delightful button mushrooms gave a nice additional texture and flavor to the dish.

Dessert offerings are a key point of interest, always. Charcoal’s delicious list of delicacies offered no easy choices. My selections: an Apple Bread Pudding and Crème Brulee — a “must-try’ item if offered on any menu.

Crème Brulee

The crème brulee had a super thin layer of the sugar crisp and a sprinkle of spicy seasoning atop made it chewy — a great twist on most crème brulee I’ve been served. I really enjoyed the coffee texture, which was creamier rather than the typical custardy presentation. It was served up with thin-sliced hazelnut biscotti, which tasted exquisite when utilized as spoons into the rich layer of creamy filling.

Apple Bread Pudding

The bread pudding offered seasonal fruit of apples, just slightly sweet, which I really prefer. The warm slices of buttered bread and layers of caramelized apple slices were topped off with just enough syrupy sweetness to hold it all together. Vanilla ice cream melted in a perfect amount of sweet moisture to complement the dish.

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Thanksgiving  is just two weeks away. Restaurant News puts feelers out to see who’s open, and what’s on their menus. I will keep readers updated as information becomes available.

First up, two new promotions that just started at Edmonds’ Demetris Woodstone Taverna:

– A Johnnie Walker Whiskey Tasting/Dinner event on Wednesday, Nov. 17 on the patio. It is paired with a four-course meal. More details here.

– The launch of a Thanksgiving meal kit to-go: Pre-orders open now through Nov. 23, with pickups Nov. 25 between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Details here,

Lastly, Demitri’s has a short Instagram contest where people can enter to win one of four Thanksgiving dinners, which includes  four kits. Learn more here.

Chef Dane and Carol Anne offer up options that allow the cook to take the day off.

Here is the menu for this year’s feast:

Roast Turkey  plus a sage gravy
Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Traditional Herb Dressing  with celery, onions
Roasted Brussel Sprouts balsamic, pine nuts
Harvest Salad mixed greens, roasted Delicata squash, pepitas, dried cranberries, apple cider vinaigrette
Cranberry Sauce orange zest
Molasses Oat Rolls

Also available are vegetarian entrées
Quinoa Delicata Squash parmesan, currants, pecans
Spinach Artichoke Dip crostini   which  serves 4

Dessert Options — these can be a slice or a whole pie

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a chocolate crust
Cranberry Tart –almond crust, orange glaze
Seasonal Cookies & Bars

Orders can be placed online at, Meals will be fully cooked and ready to reheat Thanksgiving Day Pick-ups are Wednesday, Nov. 24 between 3-6 p.m., with limited deliveries available. Order deadline is Monday, Nov. 22 at noon.

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Finally, a quick word of caution for folks who may experience momentary sticker shock as they peruse menus these days — as most grocery shoppers already know, prices are through the roof and continue to rise. Beef, pork, chicken… and seafood… woof!

I have huge admiration for any individuals who hang their hopes and their aprons too, in kitchens aiming to serve excellent fare to their customers. Brave souls these restaurateurs. They must price their dishes at a level that allows for the necessary expenses of operating a business, increases not just on the proteins, but on all ingredients, plus the expectations of workers who need to earn a living wage.

Let’s offer our support, complement the cooks, and tip well the folks who bring it to the table, save us the task of washing up the dishes, and leave diners to just enjoy the feast.

— By Kathy Passage

A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.


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