Beth and I tend to shun crowds, following the sage words of Yogi Berra that, “Nobody goes there no more, it’s always too crowded,” so we went to a Valentines lunch, instead of dinner. We were in the mood for some bisque, and the place that came to mind…The Crab Cracker.
First thing you notice about The Crab Cracker upon entering is that you are no longer in the Pacific Northwest. Something odd has occurred, and you are now at a restaurant that would be at home from Maine to Florida. Small row boats hang from the ceiling, along with life rings, and the assorted fake fish. Netting is hung all about, and I swear I saw a lobster pot. The colors are right out of Key West, with mauve and teal running rampant. Not one Salmon or Totem is to be found. Kirkland?? Throws me every time.
On this occasion we decided to start with some oysters on the half shell. Friends, one of the truly wonderful things about living here in Seattle is eating raw oysters. There are a myriad of varieties to try, and all are like taking a trip to the ocean. Clean, salt water infused perfection. On this trip we shared the sampler platter of Kushi, Kumamotos and Penn Cove Selects. All three are wonderful, but I love the salty, buttery taste of the Penn Coves the best. A must try in my book.
Beth then went on to a lunch of Sesame Crusted Ahi Filet, rare with jasmine rice, shitake salsa and wasabi sauce. One minor quibble, and this goes out to more than just Crab Cracker. When cooking a tuna steak rare, please make sure that:
- Your pan is hot hot HOT
- Take the time to let the tuna filet sit in some teriyaki or worcestershire sauce before coating with seeds.
Then flash it in the pan. It should be sssssssssssssssssssssssmokin hot. That way you get a filet that is rare, but with a nice dark crust. Not doing it this way leads to the blah grays that I’ve seen so many times. We taste with our eyes and nose as well as our tongue people. Sorry, rant mode off… Beth said the filet tasted good, the rice with nice and fluffy, and the salsa was the bomb. Overall, I’d say she rated it a B+.
I started with the Crab Bisque. Oh my. Lots of Crab and cream and shellfish stock goodness. So rich. Just perfect. As Beth pointed out there is some spice in the background that we just can’t seem to figure out. It’s way in the back, but it’s there. It’s so subtle that it’s almost a feeling rather than a taste. Not sure, but I will enjoy trying to figure it out. A+ and well worth the trip on its own.
Then I, in my never ending quest for the perfect cioppino, opted for crab legs…no no…I got the cioppino. First off, the broth was perfect. This had the spice I was looking for, up front and shaking hands. A little thicker than other cioppinos I’ve had, but tasty. The supporting cast included: Salmon, cooked perfectly; Prawns, overdone as usual ( I wont go any further, just suffice it to say, they were tough); Clams, buttery and wonderful; Mussels, perfect. In fact, the mussels in the broth alone would have been a fantastic dish; Scallops, nice big silver dollar sized, cooked just right; and snow crab that was a bit past its prime. Crab perfectionists would have set it aside, but I liked it. Overall, I gave it a B.
For dessert we opted to share a slice of Key Lime Pie. Good but a tad too sweet like most of the Key Lime Pie made outside of the Keys. Great texture, and the crust was “like buttah,” but its just not the same as eating a slice of Key Lime Pie from Kermit’s or Pepe’s Cafe in Key West while the sun sets and the…Beth? I’ve got a vacation idea!!
Overall score? 3 out of 4 lobster pots.