In Chicago, “Opening Day” means a day-long celebration of the Cubs first game of the season at Wrigley Field. It means sitting in the cold, likely rain or snow, drinking many beers and eating ballpark food.
In Seattle this year, “Opening Day” meant (for Chad and I anyway) the much-anticipated opening of Taylor Shellfish Farms new Oyster Bar in Lower Queen Anne. And that day, my friends, finally came – yesterday.
Chad and I have often enjoyed visiting Taylor Shellfish Farms outpost on Melrose Avenue and we’ve driven by their place on Chuckanut Drive just south of Bellingham. Chad enjoyed their oysters at the Dungeness Crab Festival in Port Angeles this past year. And he’s even had oysters shipped from TSF to Chico, California, for a family party. So, yes, we are loyal fans of TSF and it was with marked interest when we first learned that TSF would be opening a new venue in our very own neighborhood.
The Oyster Bar goes beyond what the Melrose outpost offers. The Melrose location was created primarily as a retail spot to sell shellfish to customers wanting to take these bivalves home and cook them up. A few seats were added for on the spot dining enjoyment and a few beverages were added to the menu. Realizing customers really preferred to dine on-site, TSF created the Oyster Bar as more of a sit-down restaurant (although there are places for people to also stand and enjoy their oysters). Currently the site has 50 seats, although TSF plans to open an outdoor patio in the summer, which will almost double the seating capacity.
The Oyster Bar opened at 4:00 pm yesterday. Once we got off work we sprang over there and the place was already packed at 5:30 pm! It is located adjacent to the Seattle Center in the new “Expo” multi-use building on 1st and Republican. (If more buildings like this appear in Lower Queen Anne, this neighborhood will finally get a much-needed makeover).
The decor of the Oyster Bar is minimal, but nice with soaring ceilings, white subway tiled backsplash in the exposed kitchen area, dark rough-hewn wood tables and accents, and chrome and wood chairs.
The best feature are the oversized windows with the view of the nearby Space Needle.
Now, I’m not a fan of bivalves, but Chad loves them. Thankfully, there were a few other items on the menu for people such as me. I had a delicious chowder (ok sure it had clams in it, but I’m ok with cooked things) and a splendid ceasar salad topped with white anchovies (which Chad enjoyed).
With the assistance of our knowledgeable waiter, Chad ordered a pot-pourri of oysters, including two Virginicas. Taylor Shellfish Farms, we were told, farm the only Virginicas on the west coast – all other Virginicas are from the east coast – and we were further told that the Oyster Bar is so far the only place you can get these west coast Virginicas. Chad was very happy indeed!
After dinner we decided to pop in to the neighboring Triumph Bar for dessert. Triumph is a cool little spot that has been open for about 7 months now. They have both a regular and a late night happy hour – perfect for those wanting a drink after seeing a show at Seattle Rep or Key Arena.
We sat at the bar and ordered a delicious salted caramel bread pudding and the nice bartender served us our first ever 100 points dessert wine – called Alvear Pedro Ximenez 2011. It was so smooth and delicious, with a distinct fig taste which perfectly complimented the caramel bread pudding.
All in all, we are impressed by the Expo Building and its culinary offerings. A Mexican cocina called Agave is currently under construction and we are excited for the summer opening of TSF Oyster Bar’s patio. What this Opening Day lacked (hotdogs, bleachers, lots of rain – ok there was some rain), it made up for with delicious sips and bites. Go Cubs! Go Taylor Shellfish!
Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar Location: 124 Republican Street, Seattle, WA
Phone: (206) 501-4442
Hours: Sun – Thurs 11am-10pm Fri-Sat 11am-11pm
Triumph Bar Location: 114 Republican Street, Seattle, WA
Hours: Daily 3:00pm – Late