Moving Day for 13 Coins: Take My Plate, Please!

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Fifty years, 24 hours a day, it's been like this. If you recognize the picture, it's because you've been there, at one of the high-backed swivel chairs overlooking the kitchen at 13 Coins.
As you walk in to the low-slung building across from the Seattle Times offices at Boren and Denny, you get a sense of déjà vu. (Or should we say déjà mangé?)?).

Old school, some call this. You've surely seen upscale diners like this in the movies: elegant leather upholstery, swivel-back chairs along the counter, fawning servers, the darkness pierced by flashes of fire from the exhibition kitchen (an innovation when it opened), where a brigade of cooks incinerate one classic dish after another. Yes, Hollywood. The Brown Derby. Chasen's. Or Broadway: Delmonico's.

Appetizers cascade onto the table: the Coins's excellent sautéed calamari, a juicy artichoke, steamed clams (with too much pesto), barbecued pork. Main courses: coconut prawns, eggs Florentine, crab & shrimp Louis, veal piccata, steak Sinatra. For "old times' sake," I might order the Joe's Special: eggs scrambled with chopped sirloin, onions, spinach.

Back in the days of three-martini lunches (hah! hard to believe, but yes), I'd come here with the gang from KING TV and nosh on a tureen of bean soup. I returned a decade ago at the invitation of a PR firm hired by the longtime owners to announce a new chef.

The food was never Canlis-level; that's not what you came here for. Part of the Coins' early success was due to its proximity to the newspaper offices, back when the Times was a real newspaper. Now there are construction cranes all over the neighborhood, and you can't hear yourself think during daylight hours. And the food is pretty much what you'd expect: reasonably speedy, served reasonably hot, reasonably tasty.

Alas, nothing lasts in Seattle (except, maybe, Canlis, perched on a cliff overlooking Lake Union). Certainly not a non-descript concrete building at the south end of South Lake Union; not even the Times itself, on the same block.

Owner Al Moscatel recognized that reality earlier this year, admitting that the building will be torn down. So the last day will be New Year's Day, he says.

The new location (yes, there will be a new location, at King Street and Second Avenue South) will retain much of the vintage decor: high-backed booths, open kitchen, and round-the-clock hours. Two levels at the new place, room for 200, lots of private dining space.

I'm hopeful.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on December 9, 2017 1:00 PM.

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