Best Oyster Po' Boy In Seattle? At The Safe

By: 
Leslie Kelly
The view from The 'Pen's pretty nifty when there's an oyster po'boy involved.

No matter what’s happening on the field, going to a Seattle Mariners game is always a huge hit for me. I might even start a blog, detailing every amazing morsel of food I’ve tried around The Safe, home to one of the best food courts on the planet.

On Saturday, still high after watching Friday’s historic no-hitter against the Dodgers at home on TV, my M’s fanatic husband and I showed up early to do some pre-game grazing. As we always do, we made a beeline for The ‘Pen, the deluxe dining venue featuring concessions conceived of by uber-chef Ethan Stowell. Food snobs might snicker at the straightforward menu – burgers are the star at Hamburg + Frites, but they’re grass-fed Painted Hills beef patties. While waiting in line, I overhead a perplexed young woman ask her friend: “What are frites?”

They’re fries, I couldn’t help butting in. And they’re very good.

Not quite as good, though, as the spectacular oyster po’boy made with bivalves from Taylor Shellfish. Those fat Pacific oysters wore their crispy, vibrantly seasoned coating well. The counter jockey offered Tabasco, too. Yes, please.

It was wonderfully messy, as good a po’boy as I’ve had outside New Orleans and that’s saying a bunch.

And while we’re down South, how about some barbecue? Stowell and The Safe’s in-house executive chef David Dekker collaborated this year on a welcome upgrade to the smoked meat selection. Holy Smoke Barbecue now offers pulled pork and brisket sammies and they show promise, like the rookie pitcher Stephen Pryor. The pork even had some shreds of “bark”, those sort of charred bits from the outside of the shoulder cooked low-and-slow that are extra flavorful. The slightly sweet, spicy sauce is a winner, but for this Carlton Farms pork sandwich to be a homerun, the meat should be pulled into more substantial chunks so it doesn’t get lost in the sauce.

The Painted Hills brisket was good, too, but sliced a bit thin. Both sandwiches were topped with an outstanding jalapeno-spiked slaw.

As my better half and I washed our swell snacks down with an $8 cup of Coors, I couldn’t help lamenting the significant hole in this stellar lineup. The mandate at the ballpark is moving convincingly into eat-local territory, yet Washington wine is nearly impossible to find.

What? You gonna beef with me because wine’s not meant to be enjoyed at a baseball game? Poppycock! That might have been true when the offerings were traditional popcorn, peanuts and Crackerjack, but this is a venue with some of the best food in the major leagues. So, let’s hope the crack culinary crew can convince the bev director to step up to the plate and offer some “local” wine worthy of these terrifically tasty options.