Best Restaurants '10: The King of Seattle Seafood

Where to go for great salmon depends on how you like it prepared

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Salmon Is King

Where to go for great salmon depends on how you like it prepared

One key element of Tom Douglas’ enduring success might be that the chefs at his restaurants always find a way to present salmon at its best. At the ! Dahlia Lounge, the smoked salmon is first brined in a soy and orange-kissed marinade, cold-smoked, and then blasted in a hot oven for a candied exterior.

At  Lola, the house-cured gravlax is lush and buttery, served with chewy Dahlia Bakery toast, chive cream cheese and other fixin’s for a perfect East Coast–West Coast breakfast. Also delicious is the crisp-skinned, smoke-tinged grilled salmon cooked over applewood at palace Kitchen (not pictured). 

Restaurant Zoë cooks its steelhead sous vide (slowly in a warm water bath), allowing the fat to melt into the sweet pink flesh of the fish. Served over a summery corn-bacon hash, it’s one of the best salmon dishes we’ve tasted in years.

The signature spice-rubbed red king salmon at Seastar is a favorite of traditional-minded Seattleites. A generous portion of the fatty fish is grilled on a cedar plank, the curling smoke imbuing the flesh with a subtle woodsy flavor.

For salmon sandwiches, you can’t do much better than the grilled-to-order salmon sandwich, slathered with tartar sauce, at the Market Grill in the Pike Place Market. It’s why those barstools are such a commodity.

Tender, moist potatoes and sinuous flakes of wild-caught salmon (when in season) are the main ingredients in Boat Street Kitchen’s elemental but elegant salmon cakes. They’d be delicious even if they weren’t vehicles for the irresistible remoulade.

See the Best Restaurants Directory for more information on the restaurants in this story.