In the city of seafood, where you can't go more than a single city block without the scent of either fresh Puget Sound water or salmon grilling up at a local eatery, there are still places that are just missing the mark. From food poisoning to undercooked, overcooked or mislabeled fish, bad seafood is as inexcusable as it is ever-present in Seattle. Not only should there be a law against serving crap carp or cold clams, there should be an explicit tit for tat rule - you make it, you eat it. If every time in the last five years that we got sick from fish and shellfish, we made the kitchen eat what they gave us, maybe we'd be a little less jaded (and skittish when the word chowder is mentioned). Since Mayor McGinn has bigger fish to fry this week (Viaduct anyone?), allow us to steer you away from some of the worst offenders in the city.
5. Duke's Chowder House (757 Southcenter Mall)
For being hit and miss, and not having mind-blowing chowder despite the word actually being in the name, this old school Seattle institution (unfortunately) makes the list. Being older doesn't mean you get to charge more but keep everything the same. For chowder that is just so-so and sorely lacking service, pull up a stool, otherwise you're better off looking elsewhere.
4. Salty's Seafood (1936 Harbor Ave SW)
Resting on your laurels is probably the worst thing you can do as a shore front seafood restaurant, right? So what gives, Salty's? Lately there's been a little negative buzz (of the word of mouth variety) that this frequent award winner and wedding venue may be slipping. Rough, tough and cold are adjectives reserved for the likes of Martha Stewart, not entrees. And just because you call yourself "Salty" doesn't mean every dish needs to taste that way. Looks like someone could benefit from a little belated Spring cleaning (Martha can you hear me?).
3. F.X. McRory's Steak Chop & Oyster House (419 Occidental Ave S, Ste 602)
This place gets poor marks for taking advantage of the partially drunk and crazed sports fans. Just because you're closest to the stadium doesn't mean you can pass off mediocre oyster platters, and over cooked prawns and charge double, okay?
The Crab Pot
2. The Crab Pot (1301 Alaskan Way)
Literally, you are not going here, okay? Yes, it's on the waterfront and yes, it has a big neon sign out front that is almost hypnotizing. These are not reasons to eat crusty old crab legs and rotten corn. The reason you go here is because you're from out of town, doing touristy junk with fifteen children who are crying, screaming, fighting and whining and you see an arcade inside.
1. Ho Ho Seafood Restaurant (653 S Weller St)
We would say the name says it all (pause - are we seeing a pattern here? Bad food = bad name? Or is it the other way around?), but the food here is actually worse than the name. Maybe it got lost in translation, along with the quality and freshness? Being situated in the middle of the ID makes it super easy for you to just walk right past this busted joint to someplace that treats its food (and customers) with a little more respect.