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Salty’s Saturday Brunch

22-May-2005

When I took my Knife Skills class at Sur la Table, the instructor, Chef Dan Thiessen gave each of us a card good for one free Saturday Brunch at Salty’s on Alki.  I wanted to take advantage of the offer and yesterday R and I met in West Seattle at 12:30 to partake in the feast. 

We met at the hostess station at 12:30.  People were waiting everywhere and I was concerned that we were not going to be seated close to our reservation time.  Since brunch was scheduled to end at 1:00 this would not have been good!  However, I was needlessly worried.  We were seated a minute or two after our time and it turns out that most of the people who were waiting had just walked in hoping to be seated. 

Salty’s is a large restaurant with lots of pleasant seating but the best indoor tables are those with views overlooking the sound and back out at Seattle.  Although, Saturday was very overcast it was still a great view and we were lucky to be placed at one of the prime tables, thanks to Chef Dan who knew we were coming in and requested a good table for us.   (Thanks, Chef!)  Once seated we reviewed the beverage list, placed our orders – a Mimosa for R and a Bloody Mary for me – and then made our way to the buffet tables. 

The thing that makes this buffet stand out over all others is the abundance of seafood.  Although, I had not been to brunch at Salty’s for some time I was very pleased to see that the seafood was as enticing as ever.  R and I had the same idea – start with seafood and leave the salad for later!

With that in mind we loaded our plates with oysters on the half shell, Dungeness crab legs, peel and eat shrimp, salmon mousse and lox.  We made our way back to our window seat and began working our way through our plates of wonderful seafood.  I don’t know about you but I really like most seafood as simply prepared as possible and this plateful of options really fit the bill. 

The oysters (being shucked while you watched) were fresh with the sweet taste of the ocean.  Even with that I couldn’t resist adding a healthy dollop of horseradish and a bit of Tabasco to each – spicy ocean is even better than plain ocean!  The crab was simply boiled and divided into pieces, leaving the cracking to the individual.  I dipped mine in melted butter, R had hers straight up.  Dungeness crab is sweet and firm and, when fresh, one of the perfect foods in life.  The crab from the buffet was beautiful.  I took my time making a little pile of the fresh meat and then sat back and enjoyed eating it bite by bite.  The peel and eat shrimp were nicely prepared in a shrimp boil, the spices sprinkled throughout the piles of shrimp.  Peeled and then dipped in the cocktail sauce they just made you smile. 

Somewhere during our indulgence, our drinks arrived.  I wish I could say they were as good as the seafood but they didn’t quite meet that bar.  R’s Mimosa was a little on the weak side – they are served over ice and that just watered down the whole thing.  My Bloody Mary was good but "safe".  On our next trip to the buffet table I picked up a large portion of horseradish from the oyster table and added that to my drink – much better! :-)

After the seafood, R and I diverged a bit on our choices (the beauty of a buffet).  I tried the Miso Salmon (yum!), a piece of chicken in some sort of BBQ sauce (tasty but a little dry), bacon, sausage – basically all meat, all the time.  It was all tasty; good, if not remarkable but I think it’s hard to make a huge buffet totally remarkable.  One thing that I thought was a great sign, was that the bacon was pretty crispy.  I am a crisp bacon freak, probably to the point of overcooking it sometimes.  I think this has to do with my relationship with former in-laws who didn’t like it quite so crisp.  If I was cookin’ they were eatin’ my way, dang it! :-)  Back to the point… this met my expectations, something not many buffets can do.  We followed all of that with fruit and other sweets. 

There were plenty of things we didn’t try – make your own omelets and crepes, waffles, pancakes, French toast, Eggs Benedict (they looked really  good), hash, clams, mussels, ham, prime rib – and it goes on.  I know I’m forgetting tons of stuff.  We did indulge in dipping a few things in the chocolate fountain and tried a few sweets.  In my opinion, desserts hardly ever taste as good as they look and except for a couple of exceptions that was the case here, too.  Although, I have to admit I only tried 3 or 4 things from the twenty plus offerings, so maybe I just picked the wrong items.  And nothing was bad, I just try to compare the taste to the number of calories in an item and I didn’t find the trade-off was there for me.  I really liked the flan and a mini-lemon tart, however.  And the fruit was really beautiful – especially those strawberries dipped in the chocolate fountain….

As with any buffet some things are better than others but I think that overall, Salty’s does a much better job than most.  And if you are in the mood for seafood, this is definitely the place to go! The seafood alone makes it a great value. 

On another note, Chef Thiessen will be appearing regularly on the Tami Michaels show in the future.  I caught part of his first show a week and a half ago and it looks like it’s going to be interesting.  You can check the Salty’s website for more information or sign up for their email newsletter to be updated on the latest and greatest. 

Salty’s on Alki
1936 Harbor Avenue S.W.
Seattle
(206) 937-1600
Saturday Brunch: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Sunday Brunch 9:30 am – 1:00 pm 

 

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