Couple of old standby waterfront restaurants have reopened after remodeling. A quick look.
First, Ivar's Salmon House on the north end of Lake Union.
Before we talk about the food, though, let's brush up on our high school biology. As you know, class, whales are mammals, which means they give birth to live young. To facilitate reproduction, the anatomy of the male whale (like virtually all mammals except for humans) includes a bone-like appendage called a baculum. It's usually tucked away except when the whale is mating, because it's between 6 and 10 feet long. In other words, a giant boner-bone. (We can hear you giggling back there, Timmy.) And yes, boys and girls, there really are a couple of "whale makers" in the newly remodeled Whalemaker Lounge. Alaskan natives have a word for baculum, by the way: oosik.
Okay, so they closed the lounge for three months and completely remodeled. New tables, new fireplace, new chef (Steve Anderson, down from the Ivar's in Mukilteo), new menu (the salmon skewers with peach-currant chutney are da bomb). Unchanged: the deck off the lounge, where you look back at the Seattle skyline, probably the best in the city.
Also unchanged: two 8-foot oosiks flanking the booze behind the bar. And Timmy, if you don't stop giggling, you'll have to stay after school, even if Ivar Haglund himself thought it was pretty funny, too.
Meanwhile, down in Tacoma: after a three-month shutdown for major remodeling, the popular Harbor Lights restaurant on Ruston Way, overlooking Commencement Bay, has reopened with a new menu and much, much bigger windows.
A full 70 prerent of the menu is new, according to Lane Hoss, marketing director of Anthony's Restaurants: seared scallops with bacon jam, Dungeness crab cakes, and, at lunch, an oyster po' boy and a crab toast. The landmark eatery has retained its most iconic dishes, however. Pan-fried oysters ($16.95) are still on the menu; so is the four-pound Bucket of Clams ($34.95).
A few more things that will not change: the nectar chowder, the extravagant Captain's Platter and the impossible-to-drop surf-and-turf menu, along with one of top attractions at Harbor Lights: truly stiff drinks.
When a Yugoslavian immigrant named Anthony Barcott opened Harbor Lights in 1959, the waterfront was industrial: ship yards and lumber mills. It became part of the local Anthony's chain in 2000. Today, Ruston Way has been gentrified. Seafood restaurants abound (Duke's, the Ram, Lobster Shack), along with a bicycle path and pedestrian walkway.
Another thing that's unchanged: guests can sail right up to Harbor Lights for free moorage. And once inside, guests have a 180-degree view that takes in Mt. Rainier and all of Commencement Bay.