A First Visit to Quoin in Fremont

Promising signs at Revel’s 20-seat bar.

January 6, 2011

The bar at Quoin.

I generally like to give new places some time before I write about them, but I can’t resist saying a little something-something about Quoin (pronounced "coin").

Joule in Wallingford turns out very fun food, so I was excited when chef owners Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi announced they’d be opening Revel, a Korean street food-inspired restaurant on North 36th in Fremont. Because Fremont could really use a jolt of fresh, inspired dining, could it not?

It gets better. Attached to Revel is Quoin. It’s just a little gray room with two rows of bar stools—ten at the bar proper and ten more on the parallel wall. Nothing fancy. My intention, upon entering, had been to grab a beer and soak up a bit of the atmosphere before conducting myself homeward. But once I’d perused the cocktail list and noticed the wall of bottles behind the bar, I focused my attention away from the beer list and towards the hard stuff. And this pleased me. Because what Fremont could really use is a place to get a decent cocktail.

The bartender on duty was a friendly bearded fellow named Brady. He made me his own Quoin 75—a riff on a French 75 with Hendrick’s Gin, Cynar, prosecco, and lemon ($10). Cynar is an artichoke-flavored bitter aperitif from Italy. I love it. But it is an assertive son of a b, that Cynar. It must be used judiciously. Brady’s took advantage of a fun flavor play between cucumbery Hendrick’s and bitter artichoke, then livened that up with bubbles, lemon, and a touch of sweetness.

Also consumed by me were the house bar snacks: Walnuts doused in homemade “seven spice” (Chinese five spice plus two more secret spices) and mixed with bits of crispy seaweed. Free. Buttery. Dangerous.

Quoin opens at 4pm daily, a happy hour is in the works.

Some things to note:
-Quoin means cornerstore in Korean.
-The full Revel menu is available at the bar.
-Infused sojus (a lightly sweet Korean spirit traditionally made with rice) are the specialty of the house. Choose from hibiscus, meyer lemon, lemongrass, and Carole orange.

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