Taylor Shellfish – Seattle

On our last night in Seattle we decided to spend one last hurrah with fresh seafood. I really wanted to get some more geoduck, since it’s something I simply cannot get back home. Added bonus: another opportunity to indulge in our newfound appreciation for oysters.

Shellfish bins inside of Taylor Shellfish restaurant
The fresh shellfish bins are front and center inside Taylor Shellfish

We opted to try out Taylor Shellfish Farms, as they are one of the premiere purveyors of geoduck in the Pacific Northwest. Google said reservations were recommended, but we rolled the dice and just headed out.

It was basically empty

We were eyeballing the sampler, which had a bit of everything including a dozen oysters, but we opted to build our own sample assortment instead. The geoduck crudo was obvious, along with the “Shucker’s Dozen” oysters, and since we were doing fresh and local, we went for a Dungeness crab as well.

Geoduck crudo at Taylor Shellfish restaurant
The geoduck crudo with sliced kumquat and pistachio butter

The geoduck crudo was spectacular. There’s something special about the texture of geoduck. It has a “snap” to it when you bite in. It’s slightly sweet, briny, and goes wonderfully with citrus. Their opting to use kumquat for the sour bit instead of the common lemon was a stroke of culinary razzle-dazzle that was noticed and appreciated. The pistachio butter it was served on was another triumph. The flavor combination was masterful.

Next we dove in to the shucker’s dozen. I’m not going to pretend to know enough about oysters to remember the names or tell you what the differences were. Maybe one day I’ll get there but my journey into oysters is in its infancy. I do know that these were excellent, and that I do enjoy adding a small dollop of fresh horseradish, cocktail sauce, and a bit of Champagne mignonette, but I also tried one unaltered and enjoyed that just as much. A dozen wasn’t quite enough so we added two “fat bastards” and two “Virginica” to our order. I can definitely tell you that each oyster variety has a unique flavor profile but like I said, one day I’ll get there with the knowledge.

Finally we got to crack into a fresh Dungeness crab, yet another local delicacy. The nice thing about Taylor Shellfish is that they pre-crack all the shells for you so that you don’t need tools or a lot of time investment to get at all the meat. The claws and legs are great but the real gem is the huge pile of sweet crab meat in the body, which is easy to get to by pulling the shell apart with your hands.

They fill the carapace with a crab aioli dip rather than serving it with butter; honestly the crab is so fresh and tasty that it doesn’t need butter. A squeeze of lemon and a dip in the aioli and you’re good to go. It was also served on a surprisingly tangy horseradish-heavy cole slaw which was a wonderful final touch.

Taylor Shellfish has several locations around Seattle; we went to the Capitol Hill location on Melrose and the staff was really friendly and struck up a great conversation with us about traveling. When our waiter realized we were from Detroit, he decided to ask a magical question of me: “So, what’s the deal with Detroit-style Pizza?”

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Detroit pizza fanatic, so my eyes lit up, Nicole did the “oh no, here we go” look, and I told him to pull up a chair, cause boy we were gonna talk about pizza. We had a great discussion about what makes it special, and about food in general, which was a really nice moment that was only possible because of the slow night.

The last thing we talked about was a recommendation from the waiter for a bar; he recommended the Foreign National right around the corner, where we headed for a nightcap. It was a wonderful way to close out our fantastic trip to Seattle and its beautiful surroundings. I can’t wait to go back.

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