SEA
Posted June 20, 2022

I’ve been coming out here for work, and it’s been challenging to find a time when I can document food that’s not in a big party atmosphere. This is one of the few times, where I can actually try and ponder over the food that I’ve eaten. We picked this place because it’s near the touristy areas of Pike Place Market and is next to a ton of seafood based restaurants on the waterfront. One might think that must mean the food should be pretty good.

Ambiance

The restaurant interior reminds me of typical seafood restaurants in Los Angeles that are next to a huge waterfront. There really is not much distinct decoration, and there are huge windows so that you can get a nice view into the bay.

The service itself was pretty fast, but there’s one thing that seemed a little shady. When you get your bill, they automatically charge a 20% service fee that goes to the restaurant and not the wait staff, i.e. it’s not a tip. According to their site (and it seems to be consistent with some other waterfront restaurants), the service charge is NOT directly passed to the staff. The restaurant states that they have implemented a commission system that ensures the staff is well compensated, so the question is whether you trust that their commission system is fair based on their writing. You can tip on top of the service charge which will be 100% guaranteed for the server. This seems pretty sketchy at best, so if you were like me and didn’t trust them, you might be paying much more for your dinner.

Food

The oyster prices here are basically New York City prices, if not more. Coming here, I was expecting them to be closer to $3 for west coast oysters since this is close to origin. I decided to pass on oysters.

The Seafood Fritters ($15) was a special and came with crab, smoked salmon, scallop, roasted corn, pasilla peppers, and charred scallion aioli. This was very good. The fritters themselves were dense with a lot of filling and decent flavors. It was a shame that they only included 4 pieces though because they were pretty small.

The Cup of White Clam Chowder ($6) was also pretty good. It had a decent amount of clam chunks, and the chowder consistency was good. It kind of reminded me of the Progresso clam chowder cans I used to buy from Costco, but definitely tasted much fresher and better.

The Fresh Grilled Copper River Sockeye Salmon ($39) came with snap peas and a little garlic/pesto medley sauce of some sort. The fish itself was just OK. I asked for medium rare, but the meat came out more on the medium well side such that it was a little dry. The snap peas were crispy and tasted ok.

Final Verdict

Aside from the shady service charge and raw seafood, the cooked dishes are pretty mediocre. Perhaps it’s because it’s a touristy area, but I was expecting a lot more. If the salmon I got was indeed “fresh”, then the chef definitely did it a disservice because it tasted pretty dry after it was cooked. If you’re looking for something edible near the water and are willing to pay a lot more due to shady business practices, feel free to check out this place. Otherwise, I’d pass and look for a different seafood restaurant around the area.

Yelp Jabs

Yum! Had a group of 7 for an early dinner…recommend getting reservations several days in advance or you’ll end up at the mercy of availability!

They had quite a few seats at around 5 PM. Even then, I probably wouldn’t bring a group here because there should be better seafood restaurants around this area.

They add a 20% service charge….NOT TIP ….which apparently makes people mad. I work in hospitality so this is fine with me.

People are mad because they have implemented a non-transparent commission system, so you do not know how the service charge is actually being redistributed out as a commission to the servers. In addition, the business exacerbates the issue by saying that you can still tip the server on top of the automatic 20% for “generosity”. It’s definitely the epitome of mental gymnastics, and it’s undesirable.

Revisions

  1. Jun 20, 2022 - Initial revision.