This week’s print column of Scoop contains a few new tidbits, most notably some significant developments in the world of Daniel Patterson. The basics are spelled out in the news-paper, but here is the full batch of details.
First and foremost, in the continuing evolution of a four-star, Coi will be abandoning its a la carte lounge menu. In its stead, the front area will be remodeled and turned into a second dining room, rather than the current lounge. The openness and big windows of the room will remain, but bigger tables (sans tablecloths) will be installed in the front room and counter seats will be turned into a wine service station, complete with living plants. The entryway will be redone, too: a luminous “glass box” will encompass the front door area.
The last night to enjoy the lounge will be April 2. Then Coi will be closed for three days, and the plan is to reopen on April 7 — the restaurant’s fifth anniversary.
Regarding the rationale behind the change, chef de cuisine Evan Rich put it best when he said that the extension of the dining room and the solo menu will convey a clearer vision — one that was often clouded by the lounge, where they served both menus. Now, all diners will get the full progression of the tasting menu (11 courses, $145). It’s an elevation of the experience. “We’ll be doing what we do best,” adds Rich.
Then there’s the development of a food lab in Oakland. It’s currently in the design phase, but when it happens, it will serve several purposes. It will be a (quiet) place, outside the everyday restaurant din, for them to develop new techniques, work through individual dishes and find new ways of looking at food.
According to Patterson, developing dishes in the same place where cooks are also responsible for dinner service — the crux of a restaurant — dilutes the process, so the lab will be a dedicated R&D place for ideas and experimentation. The lab will also be used to develop a database for wild, local foods — not only the familiar ones that can be eaten raw, but more esoteric ones that need various experiments and techniques to be fully appreciated, like say, peach blossoms. Coming soon.