The concept is elegant in its simplicity—serve “what’s fresh and in season.” This could be the title of a Michael Pollan book or at the very least, it should be the guiding principle behind everything we eat. And if you want it to be artistically and expertly prepared, there really is no better choice than Coho, which recently opened in Mill Valley.
Named, one can presume, for the species of salmon that makes its home in the Lagunitas and San Geronimo Creek watersheds, Coho is what happens when “land meets sea,” they fall in love and have a lovechild that celebrates the gustatory bounty of coastal California.
But first—a drink. Coho’s signature, artisanal cocktails don’t mean to outshine an interesting wine list but they do. Two nautically-named favorites, “Smoke On The Water” (made from Illegal Mezcal, yellow Chartreuse, Aperol, and Markut lime) and the Seaworthy Vessel (comprised of Angostura Bitters, Rittenhouse Rye, orgeat, and lemon) will wake the palate, soothe the mind and set the stage for what’s to come.
Ready for it? As you might expect, the star of the show is the restaurant’s namesake salmon dish, the Coho Salmon Donburi. The entree presents an alluring preparation of the titular fish, beautifully plated, and accompanied by a Woolly Egg Ranch poached egg (an interesting touch), and an explosion of mustard greens, baby turnips, wasabi stems, and a piquant pink horseradish vinaigrette. It is supple, flavorful, and fresh—consider it a “Mill Valley must.”
Other seafaring highlights on the entree menu include honey mustard glazed black cod with grilled Piracicaba and charred sweet potato and the grilled Mt. Lassen trout filet with green lentils and kohlrabi puree.
For turf-side diners, the Mountain View Farms pork chop with roasted cauliflower, winter squash, braised greens, and apple cider gastrique is a charmer that plays well with the Salem Wine Co. pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. At another table, a couple shared an extravagant, sculptural masterpiece made of pea shoots that was essentially edible art—order it, eat it, and email me about it (email@example.com). Entree prices generally hover below the $40 mark.
Coho’s service is impeccable and the ambiance is inviting with a tasteful, clean-line design that doesn’t forgo a little whimsy. The dining room buzzes with chatter, which is on the loud side but ultimately adds to the excitement. Overall, Coho is an exceptional restaurant that makes a splash, from start to finish.
Coho is open from 5 pm to 9 pm, Monday through Saturday and is located at 106 Throckmorton Ave. in Mill Valley. For more information and reservations call (415) 888-2265 or visit cohomv.com.