Stacking Up the Competition
"Any Seattle condiments list that doesn't include tartar sauce has done a disservice to their readers, the city, God and a century's worth of local fishing heritage. As the great fictitious captain of industry Montgomery Burns once said, 'Let the fools have their tar-tar sauce.'" - Don Ward
Stacking Up the Competition
So goes an outstanding comment from last week's condiment review. Be assured, loyal readers and Mr. Ward, leaving tartar sauce off the list wasn't an oversight. Due to its plentiful popularity we deemed it worthy of a list all its own.
To get to the bottom of this fishy controversy, we gathered some of the most highly-recommended sauces in town, paired them with a two-piece salmon basket from West Seattle Fish House on 35th and went about taste-testing.
In what will surely be the most controversial food list we've ever assembled, here are five choices worthy of "a century's worth of local fishing heritage":
Quinn's Pub (1001 E Pike St)
Starting with heavy duty mayo and adding unexpected elements like shallots, Frank's Red Hot and Gherkins, this handcrafted, thick, gourmet sauce is not only the best tartar I've had the pleasure to taste, it will rank among the best over all edibles I've sampled this year.
Spud Fish and Chips (2666 Alki Ave SW)
Transit, Seattle sports teams and the legacy of grunge are a few of the topics almost as locally polarizing as Spud's tartar sauce. Spud is a chain, but each shop is individually owned and makes its own sauces. It's the Alki location and its sweet take, plumped with relish, that makes for a taste you either really dig or you really don't.
Catfish Corner (2726 E Cherry Street)
Located on the corner of MLK and Cherry this small shop's sauce became such a success they've mass marketed it. Southern as the catfish they fry, this blend features green chilies, cayenne pepper, relish and cider vinegar. It is thinner than the other competitors, but is flavorful and unique enough to warrant a spot on the list.
Pike Street Fish Fry
Pike Street Fish Fry(925 E Pike)
Dense enough to glob on to your French fry without falling off, this in-house dipper is a classic take on tartar. PSFF makes all of their sauces, from their tartar which is dolled up with capers and red onion to their chili mayo sauce and curried ketchup. And their expanded hours make it great for late-night, deep-fried cravings.
Salty's on Alki (1936 Harbor Ave SW)
Salty's ain't cheap, but they sure know their fish--so much so they customize their tartar sauce to individual dishes. On the current dinner menu you'll find items like 'Pan-Fried Willapa Bay Oysters with Grain Mustard Tartar' and 'Alaskan Ling Cod Fish and Chips
with Sambal Olek-Kissed Tartar' so memorable it will make going back to bottled, grocery store tartar nearly impossible.
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