Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chandler's Crabhouse

Chandler’s Crabhouse at South Lake Union
Had a wonderful evening in Seattle Sunday night.

Two of our Pacific Grill investors Dennis & Ida Ford invited me and my Executive Chef, Aaron Valimont, to dinner at Chandler’s Crabhouse on Lake Union. Dennis & Ida (two of the nicest people you will ever meet) just got back from two weeks in Cancun, and we laughed about Ida’s lack of tan, and my father’s insistence that that is the entire purpose of a trip to Cancun. (they stayed at my Dad’s timeshare with his wife Jeanne).

We met Dennis first at Schwartz Brothers Bakery, where he is the Bakery Manager. He gave Aaron & me a tour of the impressive facility. Schwartz Bros. provides the pastries to dozens of businesses in the greater Seattle area, including Trader Joe’s, and all the Starbucks from Everett to Vancouver WA. If you’ve had a pumpkin scone from Starbucks or the individual carrot cakes from Trader Joe’s –you’ve tasted something delicious from Schwartz Bros…

The size of the bread and dough- mixing machinery dwarfed us as we made our way through the cavernous facility. Palettes of butter stacked to the ceiling reminded me of Costco. Sacks of flour, sugar & spices, and exotic flavorings filled the air. The whole place smelled like ‘eau de cinnamon roll’, and I was starving!

After the tour we met Dennis’ wife Ida at Chandler’s. We had a great evening sampling the many crab options from their extensive menu as they are in the middle of their famous “crabfest”.

We had jumbo lump blue crab cakes, and Stone Crab claws from Florida with a classic mustard mayonnaise sauce. Dennis ordered a crab cocktail that had Jonah crab claws (a cousin to Stone Crab).

The lump crab cakes were delicious and full of crab, but the brunoises vegetables were raggedly chopped, so the cakes didn’t really stay together very well.

Main courses I tasted included my Ahi with sticky rice (served medium even though I ordered it rare). The fish could have been a bit hotter. Aaron also noticed his entrĂ©e of Monkfish could have been hotter. I noticed the “Poblano pepper jus” should have been thinner—as jus means juice. The sauce was an off-putting gray/green color-- very emulsified and unappealingly thick. The chef should have thinned it out more. It tasted delicious however…

Ida had the Scallops & Prawns with goat cheese ravioli, broccolini, pine nuts, & sherry. The goat cheese ravioli were pleasantly hot. Dennis proclaimed his Surf & Turf delicious.

We ordered a side of Dungeness Crab Hash that was astounding in size and only $8.50!

We tried some excellent wines—including the Three Legged Red, from Dunham Cellars, but our favorite was the L’Ecole no. 41, Cabernet from Columbia Valley, WA Wine Spectator gave this wine a 91 rating. It had gorgeous fruit, and a polished finish.

Delicious wine, a spectacular setting on Lake Union, some great crab from around the country and fantastic friends made for a perfect evening.

Chandler’s Crabhouse
PHONE: 206.223.2722
901 Fairview Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109

Schwartz Brothers Bakery
619 S. Nevada Street
Seattle, WA 98108
For Order Desk: orderdesk1@schwartzbrosbakery.com

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