Housed in the foodie dream world that is Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market

Housed in the foodie dream world that is Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market is Taylor Shellfish’s so-called “Shellfish Deli.” The spot is half retail store, half oyster bar, where you can duck in to buy fresh clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, and geoducks from the purveyor’s Washington farms. Or sit among the burbling, stainless-steel tanks and slurp down freshly shucked oysters and clams or relish chunks of Dungeness crab and housemade chowder or oyster stew. The no-nonsense bar is all about the shellfish, which the purveyor has been growing and harvesting for more than 100 years. There’s no flashy menu, no celebrity chef, no reclaimed wood bar or European artwork: just shellfish. You can, however, pair your picks with wine and Seattle microbrews, and there’s a happy hour with discounted half-shell oysters Monday through Friday, 2–4 p.m. Besides the impressive selection, what I love most about Taylor Shellfish is that these guys know their stuff. The staff will help you with recipes, answer questions about sourcing or shucking, and educate you on the merroir (think terroir, only of the sea rather than the land) contributing to the layers of flavor in the oysters you’re downing.

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