Seattle is obviously a place for high quality seafood and one of my favorite restaurants when I return to the area is Ray’s Boathouse. It’s not right downtown, so you’ll need to plan accordingly to head Northwest when traffic is bad. Without traffic, you should expect a 20-minute trek from downtown.
Located right on the water, there’s a dining room indoors on the main floor and an area to sit outside upstairs along with a bar. The restaurant is white tablecloth but there’s no formal dress code. Most folks will be smart casual so don’t feel the need to get dressed up. The restaurant has an extensive, award-winning wine list. If you enjoy wines from the Northwest (think Pinot Noir), they have some excellent choices you may not have heard of.
On this occasion, we started with a sablefish ceviche, an order of steamed mussels as well as some seared scallops. Sablefish isn’t something I see very often on a menu. Of these three, the winner for me was the scallops. They were tender, moist and flavorful with just the right amount of searing. The sablefish was good, but I think I prefer it cooked as opposed to ceviche style.
Entrees consisted of sablefish in a tangy oyster sauce with sake and mushrooms, braised short ribs and some king salmon. The sablefish sat on gnocchi, mushrooms and tomatoes. All were excellent accompaniments. Pacific Northwest salmon is so much better than farm-raised and an infrequent treat for me living on the East coast. However, the sablefish was the best of the bunch.
Dessert was an orange creme brulee, chocolate mousse and a warm pecan pie tart. All were excellent. The sizes weren’t huge but still fine for sharing.
I’ve needed reservations each time we’ve dined at Ray’s. Even when dining earlier the dining room was full for most of our meal. While I wouldn’t characterize Ray’s as a cheap meal, it’s not too pricey. And, given the quality of the food and service, I think it’s an excellent value for the price. You can expect excellent food and a staff knowledgable about the menu and wine list.