With a menu celebrating the oyster, Dungeness crab and wild pacific salmon, Elliot’s is, in my humble opinion, the perfect Pacific Northwest restaurant. The entire menu is changed and re-printed daily to offer the freshest seafood possible. It is clear that Elliot’s epitomizes the Art of Eating’s food philosophy; fresh, sustainable, quality ingredients prepared simply with love and care. After all, what is simpler than plucking an oyster out of the water, shucking it and serving it cold, raw and pristine? I jest slightly because I would never trust myself to select, shuck and serve an oyster (at least not without the proper training).
The oyster bar at Elliot's is well stocked, well iced and well staffed.
The entire back page of Elliot’s menu is devoted to its oyster selection. Checks indicate whether oysters are available on a particular day. “Never slurped an oyster? First one is on us,” they proudly and generously offer.
This is a great idea. Though I am an oyster lover myself, I understand why people would be wary of ordering a half dozen if they’ve never tried one. I wouldn’t want to risk wasting the money or the food!
My mom isn’t into raw seafood but loves cooked oysters so, at my urging, she decided to slurp her first. The waiter was just as excited as we were and gave her tips on how to eat it and which oysters would be best for a beginner. He suggested the Barron Point, a smaller and milder oyster. I ordered a half dozen; two Amai, two Barron Point and two Baywater Sweet.
Beautiful and delicious
Elliot’s shucks all of their oysters after you order them to ensure you are getting the freshest most flavorful seafood possible. When they arrived at the table my oysters were accompanied with a beautiful frozen red wine vinegar and champagne mignonette sauce. I was also given a plate of rye bread and butter because it apparently helps cleanse the palate between oyster varietals.
Taking the plunge!
Mom slurped her complimentary oyster and deemed it, “not terrible”. She thought it was similar in flavor to cooked oysters, but maintained she still preferred her oysters fried.
We were surprised when the waiter came over and handed my mom a giant button as a memento; a clever advertisement for the restaurant and a cute souvenir of the occasion. My oysters were cold, sweet, briny and silky smooth. We both loved the mignonette sauce and I think the Baywater Sweets were my favorite of the trio.
Moving onto the hot portion of the meal we were in for more treats. Elliot’s menu features crab, clams, shrimp, mussels, lobster, oysters and salmon in a variety of preparations. Simple dishes like grilled salmon or steamed crab are offered next to more complex seafood pastas and other creations. Not every dish comes from the sea, but a good majority do, and really, why would you come to an oyster house if you didn’t want to eat something that swims? Though I wanted to order at least 20 things on the menu here is what we decided on for lunch.
My dad ordered this. He isn’t a very adventurous eater, especially when it comes to seafood so he played it safe. He loves tuna but it turned out this dish was his least favorite of everything we ordered. He said it was “too fishy” which may mean it was really fresh and unlike the canned tuna he is used to or maybe it was really strong. I didn’t try it because I really only like raw or slightly seared tuna so I wouldn’t be a good judge.
Salmon Sliders with Basil Pesto and Tomato
The fries were really good too. Crispy fries are one of my weaknesses.
These were good. This dish was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. I was served three generous pieces of focaccia each topped with a large piece of salmon, a tomato slice and a healthy dollop of pesto. The salmon got a little overwhelmed by the bread in my opinion and I ended up removing it and eating the salmon by itself on the third slider. This kind of made me regret not ordering a simple piece of grilled salmon, however, the basil pesto and tomato were a great pairing and the salmon was very tasty.
The amazing Spicy Crab Chowder!
My mom ordered this and it was quite tasty. I wouldn’t order it myself because the cheese and other ingredients overwhelmed the shrimp. It didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t showcase the seafood as well as other dishes.
The true star of our meal was the spicy crab and corn chowder that my mom ordered on the side. This was simply fantastic; the best chowder I have ever had. The broth was creamy but not too heavy and the generous chunks of tender crab meat were juicy and sweet. A crunch from the corn and a slowly building heat finished off each bite of soup perfectly. This was truly an example of a dish being more than the sum of its parts.
The view on the pier is beautiful. Eat outside if you can.
We couldn’t get enough of Elliot’s. Our next day in Seattle, even though we weren’t hungry after the market, my mom, dad and I walked down to the pier and visited again.
We split the crab cakes (they were pillowy soft, melt in your mouth and accompanied by a fabulous chili-lime beurre blanc and chayote-jimaca slaw that made them taste even fresher and lighter) and all three of us ordered the crab chowder.
If I have one regret about my trip to Seattle it is that I didn’t go to Elliot’s a third time to order the:
Wild Mushroom Ravioli with Dungeness crab, pancetta, asparagus, cream sauce, tomato and basil
Pesto Clam Linguini with Manila clams, herb pesto, clam broth, shallots, white wine and sun-dried tomato focaccia crostini
Australian lobster tail with white wine and butter, market potatoes and vegetables
Crab crusted sockeye salmon
Next time I am in Seattle I will be sure to try one of these tempting offerings. Elliot’s has solidified its place amongst Pikes Place Market and San Juan Island whale park as one of my Pacific Northwest favorites.