Recently, Chad and I visited the Ballard Annex Oyster House on Ballard Avenue.
This restaurant was named as a wink/joke to the Ballard citizens who, in the early 1900s, fought against annexing their city to Seattle. They eventually were forced to annex in order to share Seattle’s drinking and sewer water. BAOH is located next to the site of the Ballard City Hall, which was draped in black fabric and hung its flag at half mast on the day of the annexation. All that remains of the City Hall today is the belltower at the corner of Ballard Avenue and 22nd Avenue NW – which you can see from the windows of the Oyster House.
Despite this sad tale, everyone here seems really happy. The manager R.J. and our server Matt, were equal parts welcoming and knowledgeable about their food, the building, and Ballard history. But who wouldn’t be happy here – feasting on oysters from both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, Dungeness crab, or Maine Lobsters? BAOH creates an East vs. West rivalry (well ok, the rivalry already existed, BAOH just serves it up on a plate) with their crabcake faceoff.
Since both Chad and I have lived on the east coast, we felt we could properly judge whether these west coast restaurateurs know how to prepare east coast seafood in an east coast manner. And sure enough – they do! (But in all fairness, we need to return several more times to determine which is better).
What really impresses us about BAOH beyond the food and service was their design – the seafood bar area screams East Coast – you feel like you are on Martha’s Vineyard. The main dining area has a more West Coast nautical feel to it – lots of ropes and wood paneling.
The light fixtures over the bar were designed by the owners themselves and were blown by local glass blower Gregg Clark of Decicio Artisan Glass located just around the corner in Ballard. (We later visited Decicio Artisan Glass and found some great wedding gifts for friends!)
BAOH is owned by the same people (Zak Melang and Nate Opper) who brought Seattle Kickin Boot Whiskey Kitchen and The Matador. They pride themselves on their incredible selection of whiskeys, scotch, and other imbibements. They have brought this knowledge of fine alcohol to BAOH. R.J. was kind enough to give us a short tutorial of local distilleries, along with some samples of Seattle vodkas and gins. Thanks, R.J.!
From their first day, BAOH has been packing in the crowds. Especially on Wednesdays when they have $1.50 Oyster Happy Hour!Location: 5410 Ballard Avenue NW Hours: (As of this writing) Monday – Thursday 3:30 pm – 12:00 am Friday and Saturday 11:00 am – 1:00 am Sunday 11:00 am – 12:00 am Reservations: For reservations click here.