One of the reasons I moved to the Seattle ten years ago was to enjoy the bounty of food I can find in the Pacific Northwest, including the seafood. Now that I’m racing around to so many restaurants in the area, I’m constantly eating crab, halibut and salmon, but find myself yearning for more variety on the menus. Bring on the small fish! Until then, here’s a sampling of some dishes last year.
13 Coins is a restaurant I recall experiencing late one night long before I moved to Seattle. There’s a lot to like about the place: It’s open 24 hours, the booths offer great privacy, and the menu is eclectic. (Szechuan primavera, anyone?) Sadly, the food has been disappointing of late. You can find all kinds of great crabcakes around town, but 13 Coins isn’t the place I’d recommend for that. I tried them twice, hoping that the oversalting the first time was just a one-time affair – but it wasn’t. When you have those 3am hunger pangs, maybe the Hangtown Fry is a better choice. Oysters and eggs…late dinner, early breakfast…perfect anytime!
Halibut can be a bit boring, especially given all the bland preparations I’ve endured. So I was surprised to enjoy a taste of it at Taste, the recently remodeled restaurant at the Seattle Art Museum. (The interior is softened from the industrial atmosphere that was somewhat sterile as an eatery.) The fish was nicely seared and still moist. I like Taste’s emphasis on local ingredients, and believe the changes will make it more appealing for museum-goers and anyone looking for a taste in that neighborhood.
As for salmon, I enjoyed a variety of preparations at McCormick’s Fish House last year. Salmon’s one of my favorite easy dinners at home, seared for a minute or two in a pre-heated cast iron pan (skin side down, to get that nice and crisp), and then baked in the oven. But salmon’s also fun to eat out, as it’s versatile. As pictured here, I enjoyed salmon three ways: cured as gravlax with a mustard and spring onion marmalade; smoked and served with spring greens, sherry vinaigrette, and hazelnut brittle; and two varieties grilled - one with berry butter sauce, the other with lemon butter sauce (along with grilled polenta, wild mushrooms, and fiddlehead ferns).
I’ve yet to report on a Tom Douglas restaurant, so it seems appropriate to mention Etta’s here and the Rub with Love salmon, with the fish flaky and sweet. And speaking of sweet, the coconut cream pie remains legendary. My old camera flaked out on me for that meal, but I promise more pictures of sweet endings in the next post.