This series of posts is called "100 favorite dishes," and I take the adjective to mean that subjectivity and idiosyncrasy is permissible. So I'm lifting my self-imposed rule that no restaurant can be represented twice and making space for the crispy fish skins at The Walrus and the Carpenter, which I recently tried for the first time.
Eaters go to restaurants for fat and salt, partly because it's hard to feel good about filling a saucepan with butter by the fistful, and partly because professional chefs are more skilled at it. Diners' desires for scads of salt have inspired chefs to re-introduce snacks such as pork chicharrones, which are good - but fish chicharrones are better.
The Walrus and the Carpenter didn't invent the idea of frying fish skins: They're sold in Hong Kong, Bolivia and Peru, among other places. But serving them at a restaurant that celebrates the bounty of Pacific Northwest waters is pretty genius.
And the skins are just great. They're briny and hopped up on a uniquely oceanic grease. The elongated chips, flecked with chili and dashed with a squirt of lime juice, are twisty and curled. They don't shatter when bitten, but bend with a liveliness that comes straight from the sea. Choose a cocktail - the restaurant's version of a Pimm's Cup is perfect just now - and enjoy.