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Slurpin' oysters in Seattle

August 31, 2011 | 11:30 am

Taylor1 (1 of 1) A couple of weeks ago I was in Seattle for the weekend, arriving in the early afternoon hungry after only a teeny bag of peanuts and a glass of water on the plane. I’d come up to visit my friend Roberta, who teaches Italian there. Since we’d planned to have a small dinner party the next night, our first order of business was shopping. We started at Pike Place Market, went on to The Spanish Table and ended at Melrose Market on Capitol Hill. Two doors down is the very new Taylor Shellfish Farms store

Oysters! Not only do they sell clams and oysters raised from their own beds farther north, you can eat the oysters right there too, at a very good price. The charge for shucking a dozen oysters is just $5 for the first dozen and $2 for the second dozen. No fancy condiments, but an
excellent mignonette, some lemon wedges and a miniature bottle of Tabasco. Fine by me. We gobbled our first dozen and moved on to the second, Samish Bay oysters at $7.99 a dozen. Heaven.

The last time I was in town, Roberta took me to the then new (and still Taylor2 (1 of 1) newish) Walrus and the Carpenter, a delightfully quirky oyster bar from chef Renée Erickson of Boat Street Café. The main event is slurping down a dozen different oysters on the half shell at market price. But Erickson's menu also proposes some terrific appetizers such as radishes with cultured butter and salt, grilled asparagus with anchovies and breadcrumbs or grilled sardines with walnuts, parsley and salt. Add an excellent steak tartare and Stumptown coffee. Plates are mostly small, but generous enough to share. While you’re there, check out that massive branch chandelier! 

Taylor Shellfish Farms, Melrose Market Seattle, 1521 Melrose Ave., Seattle; (206) 501-4321; www.taylorshellfishstore.com. Open daily 10 a.m. To 7 p.m.

Walrus and the Carpenter, an Oyster Bar, 4743 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle; (206) 395-9227; http://thewalrusbar.com/. Open daily 4 p.m. til late.


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Photos: Taylor Shellfish. Credit: S. Irene Virbila/Los Angeles Times.