Restaurant Review: Here’s Super Tasty and Affordable Seafood in Seattle

Local tide | Seattle Times Critic’s Choice | Seafood | $$ | Fremont: 401 N. 36th St., Suite 103, Seattle; 206-420-4685; | no reservation | take away meals available | indoor/outdoor seats | sound level: moderate to loud | no barriers to access, men’s and women’s toilets

IS THE LOCAL TIDE what is Seattle lacking in seafood? It’s sure been that way for the past few sunny days, with what seems like everyone in the neighborhood and beyond flowing into the compact space. New to Fremont during the pandemic, this counter-order spot has already become popular with legions, sailing as it does under the radar of white-tablecloth fish markets with a view (e.g., Elliott’s, Palisade, Ray’s) as well as the new seafood storage (RockCreek, Manolin, The Walrus and the Carpenter). At the other end of the seafood scale, fish ‘n’ chips is on offer here, but the menu goes well beyond that as well.

Local Tide serves locally sourced seafood – largely from Westport, Grays Harbor County and Oregon, but ranging from Northern California to Alaska – prepared with global flavors in a supremely flavorful way . Moreover, it is offered at extremely affordable prices. (For context, consider the now common $40-plus premium fish entrée, then the fact that a four-piece from Ivar costs $14.49. Local Tide’s bountiful fish sandwiches cost between $16 $ and $18.) It’s pretty invaluable to order ahead online and take on a walk a few blocks from the banks of the Ship Canal, for an urban waterfront picnic unique to Seattle and incredibly charming. But dining inside gives you the best view of the presentations above and beyond Local Tide, perhaps the soundtrack of A Tribe Called Quest, and the very cheerful vibe of the bustling, stylish and high ceiling.

Local Tide’s eavesdropping catches everyone around him talking about how awesome everything is. “That’s perfect – what a great idea,” said one customer upon seeing the beauty of the albacore tuna sandwich. It comes on a crisp, buttery sourdough, served open with artistically channeled homemade mayonnaise on one side, on the other a tangle of frisée and celery ribbons majestically topped with four large, thick overlapping slices of tuna loin. yellowfin tuna from the Oregon coast. The fish, with a ruby ​​center and edged with a blend of homemade spices reminiscent of shichimi tōgarashi, begs to be eaten on its own; best to let yourself try a little and then make the sandwich for the full experience. Lush tuna meets the crunch of bread, the creaminess of mayonnaise, the freshness of vegetables, and the lemony burst of homemade pickles and pickled Fresno peppers to achieve what, in a better world, a tuna salad sandwich would always and forever be.

Overheard at brunch, of a diner cleverly sharing fried fish sando and rockfish banh mi with a friend: “If I worked nearby, I’d have lunch here all the time. Like the aforementioned albacore tuna, the Local Tide version of a Filet-O-Fish is another perfected souvenir: golden panko-crusted Dover sole, orange melty American cheese, buttery lettuce, homemade tartare on a small brioche bread not too high. Everything is proportionate; everything is simple; All is well.

Redfish, on the other hand very messy, is a riotous delight from a take on the Vietnamese treasure, claiming as its ingredients “Patty of Redfish Sausage, Cucumber, Pickled Daikon and Carrot, Purple Cabbage, Fresno Chilies, Herbs, Nuoc Cham, Maggi’s Maison Kewpie, Baguette.Contains pork.Rockfish sausage is where the pork happens, creating a surf-and-turf umami joined by nuoc cham and mayo augmented with Maggi’s favorite seasoning. Vietnam, with everything else a festival of flavors and textures brimming with an ideal baguette. This, I’m just going to say, is one of the best banh mis in town. Yes, it costs a lot more than some, and it requires lots and lots of towels; yes, it’s worth it.

“Wow,” half a couple devouring Local Tide’s shrimp toast uttered slowly on another occasion. “It is delicious!” the other replied with pure joy. This take on the dim sum favorite of chopped shrimp medley topping golden fried bread triangles also uses pork in the form of lard, and if that’s what causes its unrivaled savory glory, all hail the pig. Wow is right – there’s a juicy undertone, potent salt and almost too much butter, with sweet mayonnaise and some pretty serious homemade chili oil for dipping, in case too much is never enough. A coleslaw with pretty black sesame seeds and sesame dressing looks like a niceness here, not an afterthought. (Shrimp is the only type of seafood on the Local Tide menu that isn’t sourced locally.)

Somewhat surprisingly, the Dover sole that works so well in Local Tide’s nostalgic sandwich didn’t make great fish and chips – the fillets were too thin, turning the chunks of fish into an exercise in fish crispiness. coating with not enough flesh for the center to hold, and a bit of over-salting to start. The weekend-only special crab roll, outrageously priced from the menu at $30, gives you plenty of chunks of whole claws of fresh and splendid local Dungeness, lightly dressed with crab fat mayonnaise and nestled on a honorably soft toasted bun. Still, given the most exciting combinations found here, I wouldn’t choose this one again.

There’s a lot more to Local Tide, though. The risk taken in serving homemade fries rather than French is major, but the supreme crispy exterior of the cubes combined with an almost mashed potato interior makes them quietly wonderful. On the high-end menu, a silky, rich black cod kasuzuke served as a main course for $24 would be right at home on the tables of a much more expensive place. The salmon in sandwich, teriyaki and salad format is entirely wild caught. Tastes of Sounds Good Wine, in white or rosé, and beers made especially for the house by Aslan Brewing of Bellingham, which has an outpost next door, come in cans for under $10 for an easy drinking situation. and encouraging. And if you only offer one dessert, let it be a huge slice of toasted bread pudding with Kerrigold butterscotch, Maldon salt, toasted almonds and lots of whipped cream.

THE LOCAL TIDE IS the work of owner/executive chef Victor Steinbrueck, who opened it in August 2020. His mother is Chinese Filipina and he also grew up with his maternal grandmother living with the family – hence some of the Asian flavors on the menu. “But I would say it’s mostly because these are things that I love,” Steinbrueck notes. Shrimp toast comes from a recipe he found years ago in one of his mother’s Chinese cookbooks. The red rice served with black cod is called “Grandma” because she invented it after her doctor told her to cut down on white rice for her cholesterol; “I’ve been eating this particular blend for as long as I can remember,” Steinbrueck says. Crab fat finds its way into Local Tide’s clam chowder as well as specials, and he also attributes his affinity for it to his grandmother. “It was always my grandmother’s favorite part. Whenever we cooked crab, she always took the crab head and ate it with rice and chili vinegar. So I discovered that was the “best” part at a young age.

Surprised to see his long-term plans unfolding during a global pandemic, Steinbrueck was still looking to bridge the gap between the Seattle seafood restaurant and the upscale. “Even though we’re such a seafood town,” he says, “strangely, we don’t have many restaurants that showcase and present what we have around us in a comfortable and accessible way, while maintaining quality.

Steinbrueck had cooked as a personal chef, caterer and more for eight years, then tested Local Tide pop-ups in the Pike Place Market Atrium — and yes, it was his namesake grandfather who was the architect behind the effort to save the market in the 1970s, after it became incredibly derelict. Later, Steinbrueck’s family ran a store there, and he attended daycare there; the market connected it to seafood in the first place.

Preserving Seattle’s historic home for purveyors of the best of Pacific Northwest waters and more 50 years ago has proven to be a civic contribution of the watershed. Seen in a certain light, this family heritage is now reflected in the joys of small local tide, making fresh local seafood available to citizens in a way that practically feels like a public service.

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