During my recent trip to Seattle, we were able to eat a couple of meals out. The first meal at MorMor's Bistro was disappointing. But the second meal at Chandler's Crabhouse along the waterfront in Seattle (see map) was just outstanding.
Chandler's is part of the Seattle-based Schwartz Brothers Restaurant group that includes the upscale Daniel's Broiler steak house and Revolution Bar and Grill that is part of Paul Allen's Experience Music Project museum in Seattle. (A beer lover's dream - Revolution Bar and Grill has a custom made beer delivery system that allows them to have 50 beers on tap.) Chandler's is equally as impressive a restaurant as the other two Schwartz Brothers restaurants.
The decor at Chandler's is sort of new age/art deco. They also have great views of the marina and harbor next to the restaurant. The wait staff is young, hip and well-versed in the food and wines they serve.
And the wine list was impressive with over 150 different wines to choose from. Many were from the impressive Washington state wineries which are fast becoming known as making some great wines. The other wines came from Oregon and California with less than 15 wines on the list coming from overseas.
One of my colleagues picked out an '04 L'Ecole no. 41 Cabernet from the Columbia Valley of Washington. He said he had read about it and wanted to give it a try. After the waiter brought a bottle out, a couple of us smelled and sipped the wine. We were all in agreement that it was a very good wine and asked him to bring two more bottles. At $69 bucks a bottle, my boss didn't flinch when we ordered the extra wine.
Chandler's menu changes nightly as they always get the freshest catch of the day. They're known for their seasonal crab entrees and they looked good. But at $45.95 a dinner, I thought I'd better look at something else.
I ended up getting a half-dozen of the Stellar Bay oysters-on-the-half-shell from Cortes Island, British Columbia (just up the way from Seattle). They are one of the few types of oysters that I can remember because they're always so big, meaty and juicy. And these were no exception. They were unbelievable great. So good that I almost got another half-dozen.
We also had a plate of Spicy Fried Calimari that was being passed around. They were served with a chili oil and an excellent lime-cilantro chutney.
Dinner was a tough choice. I really wanted the crabs, but business hasn't been great lately and with my boss seated next to me I didn't think it would be appropriate to get the most expensive thing on the menu. A couple of my colleagues seated near me went with the King Salmon on a bed of cous cous with smoked mozzarella and a roasted pepper relish.
My boss, who was burned by getting the steak the night before at the MorMor Bistro, took my advice - When in the Pacific Northwest, get fish. When in the Midwest, get beef. He got the Dungeness Crab Cakes servied with marinated apples, rice and green beans with a watercress vinaigrette.
I went with a safe choice - the medium priced ($28.95) Hawaiian Ahi Tuna, medium rare. It was served on a bed of sticky rice with baby bok choy. And it on the side was a miso green peppercorn sauce. It sounded wonderful.
When my tuna came to me, I was literally floored. I'm used to having the tuna come as a 3/4 inch to 1 inch tuna steak. This was actually large chunks of tuna - looking more like remnants and end pieces rather than a steak slab. But they were all cooked to a perfect medium rare.
Oh, and the taste. Unbelievably great. I don't know if it was the freshness of the tuna, or they used chunks of tuna instead of a steak cut, or if it was the green peppercorn sauce you could dip the tuna into. It was probably the best piece of tuna I'd ever had.
Everyone elses meal was just as outstanding. One of my colleagues (who has a lot bigger balls than I do) got the Alaskan Dungeness Crab and he said it was as good as he remembered it when he used to live in Seattle. The guys who got the King Salmon were blown away at the taste.
And my boss loved his Dungeness Crab Cakes. But he was able to coax me into trading a bite of my tuna for a bite of his crab cakes. After taking a bite of the tuna, he got this look on his face of great surprise. He said, "Shit, man. My crab cakes are very good, but I should have gotten the tuna!" He's right. His crab cakes were good (from the bite I had of them), but the tuna blew them away.
Chandler's is not cheap - the bill with tip came to about $95 person - but it was some of the finest seafood I'd ever had in my life. Seattle is one of those places where I'd like to be able to spend more time some day and Chandler's would definitely be on my list of places to eat when I come back.