At Boat Street Cafe, the Walrus and the Carpenter, and the Whale Wins, Renee Erickson has showcased two distinct gifts: sourcing perfect seafood, and spinning a magical sense of place. Both are in full bloom at Barnacle, her skinny 20-seater with the copper counter, the Euro bar, and the chalkboard menu—heavy on the fishies. The place was conceived as the antipasti anteroom to Ballard’s ever-packed Walrus—and it takes great care with tipples and nibbles. Slices of octopus terrine come puddled in rich Ligurian olive oil with squeezes of lemon. Italian bread arrives with escabeche mussels and cilantro sauce. Seven or eight of these “snacks” happen nightly, for pairing with the Italian drinkables that the folksy-friendly staff will readily and unpretentiously (and intelligently) recommend. As for that patented Erickson atmo? The room is wrapped entirely in white and indigo Moroccan tiles. Uh huh.


This article originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of Seattle Met.

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