Boat St. Café is tucked away inside a corner of the Northwest Work Lofts. Once I went to an art opening at the Northwest Work Lofts. There I met some guy who owned a graphic design studio. He was selling T-shirts bearing the legend "Le Canard Non!", a phrase meant to be disparaging towards the locally popular Duck Tours.
The Boat Street Cafe is as awesome as the Duck Tour is stupid.
If you don't know about the Duck Tours, let me tell you about them: It's a way for douchebags to get to ride in an amphibious truck. Apparently, the guy with the shirt's friend was getting married, and his intimate waterfront wedding ceremony was marred when the Duck Tour sailed by the pier and the driver kept chanting "Don't do it!" over the loudspeaker. Normally I would applaud such mayhem, but I CAN'T FUCKING STAND the shitty music the Duck Tours insist upon broadcasting. It's ear rape--the Mike Tyson of good taste.
Fortunately, the balance of class in the universe has been maintained because the Boat Street Café is as classy as the Duck Tour is gauche. It's a vision in cream and sky blue, all buffed edges and antiqued corners. The interior, with its tree branches on the wall and drapery and chandeliers, sometimes goes a little bit over the top: it looks like a fucking Anthropologie store inside.
The food is delicious. A half dozen of these briny and luscious and sweet Kumamoto oysters ($15) came nestled in a bed of rock salt and garnished with a lemon wedge, a miniscule ramekin of champagne mignonette, and a precious newsprint flower, complete with a pile of grated horseradish. This plating scheme was so adorable I suspect they hired an elf to design it.An arugula salad ($12) was equally darling: supremes of grapefruit nestled quietly within a compact mound of the eponymous green, and looped with delicate rings of thinly sliced shallot. The completely uncooked shallot was defiantly oniony and sweet and served as a sharp counterpoint to the citrus. Still, I found $12 a bit steep for this salad, especially given the fact that $12 will buy you TWO WHOLE POUNDS OF ARUGULA at the West Seattle Thriftway. Just saying.
Cauilfower soup ($12) went down like liquid satin and was creamy with a roasted caramel finish. Chewy wisps of roasted garlic greens were strewn about the surface of the soup, while a poached egg lurked in the undersea depths beneath. This was really tasty. I wish I could bathe in this soup like a mad Roman emperor. The egg would be my soap.
A filet of Alaskan Halibut ($26), dusted in a light breading and pan fried, perched atop a bed of sautéed greens and roasted potatoes. This was tasty enough, but the halibut, alas, was a little dry.
The Boat Street Café is so fucking hidden, and so fucking pastel, it's the architectural equivalent of an Easter Egg. My only problem with this place is that it's a bit pricey. It's really cute and stylish and polished, and it's very charming, and it isn't cheap. Which makes the Boat Street Café the diametric opposite of the Duck Tour--and your mom.
Rating: 8.5 opposites out of 10
Boat Street Cafe is located at 3131 western Ave inside the Northwest Work Lofts.
For reservations call 206-632-4602