What Friends Are For

At the Pacific Inn, even the help is helpful.

PACIFIC INN TAVERN

3501 Stone Way North, FREMONT 206-547-2967 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Mon.-Fri.; noon-2 a.m. Sat.-Sun. EVERYONE SHOULD have in their arsenal of friends one really, really smart one. Not a know-it-all, mind you, just a really smart friend. That way, when you're sitting at the Pacific Inn drinking cheap PBR schooners ($1.25) and gazing out on to Stone Way at the very large fastener supply store across the street and you notice bold black letters advertising something called air nails and you go, "What the hell is an air nail?" your friend who knows everything can go, "Those are the things that you shoot out of a nail gun." Oh. Duh. Right now, over an order of breaded oysters ($6.50) that our waitress secured for us (they really ought to be on the appetizer menu, but since they're not, ask to have them first and without the fries just like we did—sooner or later the establishment will get the hint), my supersmart friend and I are reflecting on the ceiling, which is blotchy with muddy brown mildew spots near the door ("poor ventilation"), and the fact that it's impossible to spit sideways in here without hitting a construction worker or a house painter ("the TVs are always tuned to ESPN"). The oysters are great; juicy, small, and breaded-and-fried just enough to give them a greasy, working-class charm—they are as good as any you'll find in the kind of tavern that serves Rainier in a can. Ditto for the burgers (go for the guac-topped one, $6.50), the splendid onion rings (not as good as Red Mill's, but still; substitute them for fries for the extra buck), the lemon pepper chicken ($5.99), and, of course, the very famous fish and chips ($6.50). When ours arrive, my friend and I spend several minutes just smelling them. Seasoned more than your average fried fillets, they are redolent of garlic, cayenne pepper, and basil. "Not actually spicy . . . ," I say, trying to pick just the right term. "Savory," says my smart friend. Right. Again. One final note on the appetizers and the service: Feeling uncharacteristically in the mood for junk, we had attempted to order some jalape�oppers when we first arrived. Our waitress was, at the time, goofily humming an old Guns N' Roses song. With our request she sobered quickly and shook her head. "They're not good. They have chicken in them." Chicken in jalape�oppers? That would be absurd. "Hey, Cook," she hollered back to the kitchen, "Those poppers have chicken in them, right?" With the affirmation, she nodded at us smugly and we passed. See what I mean about how good it is to always have a knowledgeable friend around? lcassidy@seattleweekly.com

 
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