Elliott’s Oyster House is one of those restaurants that never really registers for me, that never actually makes it on my radar. It’s on the waterfront, that place that feels positively overrun with out-of-towners during the summer, and thus couldn’t possibly produce any food worthy of serious exploration. Right?
But on this particular Friday night, we were looking for a restaurant for a family get together that was close to the ferry dock for one crowd walking on from Bainbridge, and had some of the fun Seattle kitsch for another crowd in town from across the Pond. Ivar’s was our first stop, but it turned out to be Elliott’s that had the right combination of timing, and a table available in a sunny spot at the end of the pier. For all of my trepidation about diving into a waterfront restaurant at the height of tourist season, I will report that I was pleasantly surprised.
My sisters and I sampled several items from the non-entrée section of the menu, all of which were pretty darn tasty. The Wild Mushroom and Goat Cheese Strudel was arguably the best of the bunch, with forest mushrooms, Oregon blue cheese, and chèvre all in a flaky phyllo crust. As if those ingredients weren’t compelling enough, the whole thing was drizzled with a Port wine reduction and served with a sizeable dollop of fig chutney. Now, I won’t claim to be a crab cake connoisseur, but I thought that Elliott’s Dungeness Crab Cakes, served with a sweet chili-lime beurre blanc and a chayote and jicama slaw alongside, were deliciously executed.
None of us had had clam chowder in ages and this seemed like the perfect occasion. Maybe it was the sun, the water, and the backdrop of boats, but I thought that Elliott’s White Clam Chowder hit all the right clam-y notes. I think I advocated for the Seafood Chop Chop Salad as a way to squeeze in some greens while also trying to consume as much seafood as possible in a single sitting, and this too was excellent. Grilled scallops, bay shrimp, and more Dungeness crab, with the classic iceberg lettuce, avocado, chopped egg, tomato, toasted hazelnuts, Jack cheese, peas, and artichoke hearts tossed with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette. And to top it all off, this sort of parmesan cracker affair.
Of course, the one thing we didn’t have were the namesake oysters, but that just gives me an excuse for a return visit, I say. During the oyster happy hour every Monday through Friday, 3:00-6:00pm, perhaps…