One of the joys of writing about food in Seattle is not having to deal with too many massive restaurant chains. This is a locally-oriented town, and the industry knows it: I once took a call from a publicist who made the novel argument that the national steakhouse she represented should be considered local because all of the servers at its Seattle outlet live in the area. (Honestly, it's the converse which would rate as newsworthy.)
So local matters in Seattle. But startlingly few restaurants show as much interest in local food history as they do in local carrots and cauliflower. Fortunately, the city's culinary amnesia hasn't pervaded the kitchen at Blueacre Seafood, which turns out a mean pickled herring.
Blueacre's pickled herring is salty and clean, with supple, vinegary flesh. The dish gets added punch from ribbons of pickled red onions and a dollop of horseradish sour cream, ready to be spread atop salted rye toasts.
While there are very few downtown Seattle restaurants in which a nineteenth-century boat builder would feel comfortable, the herring blasts Blueacre to the top of that short list. Making the dish even more attractive to yesterday's boat builders and today's office serfs, the herring costs just $4 at Happy Hour, when cans of Rainier sell for $1.50.