As of this week, Madrona's main drag on 34th Avenue has a seafood market and oyster bar, a trim little spot with a butcher block counter, display case of prawns and King salmon and branzini, and an ice table piled with mussels, clams, and five types of oysters, to take home or eat at a repurposed wood table with grapefruit shaved ice or black pepper mignonette. The official opening date at East Anchor Seafood is Tuesday, March 15, though you might find doors softly open already.
In May 2015, chef Brian Clevenger opened his restaurant Vendemmia next door, and it's been busy (and beloved) ever since. Now Clevenger and his girlfriend Kayley Turkheimer have partnered up for East Anchor, a market selling a mix of groceries and prepared food, but also serving beer and wine and a few plates displaying the same finesse with seafood and vegetables you'll find next door at Vendemmia.
Turkheimer, who worked previously for a seafood distributor and an importer and grew up around commercial fishing, points to three coastal maps hanging above the seafood counter—Alaska, the Puget Sound, and the greater Northwest—posted so she can orient customers to the origin of their true cod or rockfish. A cooler houses a bit of produce, functional stuff like lemons or alliums, takeaway portions of prepared food from Vendemmia, like a chicken and barley salad, the restaurant's stupendous dungeness crab and snap pea salad, and other hearty combos that will present themselves with each season.
There's another menu of food to eat right here, alongside those oysters. The dishes currently posted include smoked black cod with pickled shallots and aioli, salt cod with grilled bread and potatoes, smoked salmon with cream cheese and rye, and a Caesar salad topped with crab or prawns. East Anchor has a few tables and some counter seating, all prime real estate when it gets warm enough to open the big windows up front.
Seattle has a growing number of aspirational neighborhood markets, though some of them traffic more in $15 artisanal condiments than stuff to eat on a random Tuesday night. In Madrona, a tricky landscape for restaurants, Clevenger says he's found success thus far by offering value. While good-quality seafood isn't necessarily cheap, "I don't want anyone to come in and assume we're expensive," he says. He sounded a little bit like a crotchety grandpa—and I mean that in an endearing way—railing against places that charge $1 for a lemon, when you can get the same one for $0.30 at QFC.
East Anchor is open at 1126 34th Ave, seven days a week from 11am to 7pm. Here's the East Anchor website and Facebook page. Oh, and the new quarters allowed Vendemmia to add a cool little private dining room in the back, which seats 10 people at a huge table made from the deck of an old crabbing vessel.