By Jon Bauer Herald Writer
Having recently marked its 22nd year, Anthony’s Beach Cafe on the Edmonds waterfront isn’t exactly an old salt, but it’s been around long enough to become an easy choice for an informal lunch or dinner for families, especially after a couple hours of beachcombing.
Because nobody’s going to judge you for your shorts and flip-flops.
Part of the Washington-based chain of Anthony’s restaurants, and located below Anthony’s Homeport Edmonds, the Beach Cafe emphasizes Northwest seafood from its own seafood providers in a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere. How family-friendly? The sandbox outside the front door keeps kids occupied while mom and dad wait for their table.
Adults can occupy themselves with the views of the Edmonds marina, Puget Sound and the ferries. And you’ve got a better shot at a window seat now: The cafe recently expanded along its west side, adding an expanse of windows and more space for outdoor dining. There’s also a new private dining room for parties.
The Beach Cafe works for those looking to impress out-of-state visitors with the bounty of the Northwest. The menu often touts the origin of the fish and other items. Right now, that means the cafe has joined in on the Copper River salmon bandwagon. While the Copper River fish get a lot of hype this time of year, it is good, if pricey, salmon.
The Beach Cafe prepares it two ways: In a salad with char-grilled, citrus-glazed sockeye salmon, romaine, field greens, grapefruit sections and Holmquist Orchards filberts ($23.95) or a sockeye fillet roasted on a cedar plank and finished with a smoked red pepper beurre blanc ($26.95). (Menu items are generally a couple dollars cheaper at lunch.)
On a recent visit, my wife and I shared the salmon filet and the cafe’s pan-fried Willapa Bay oysters ($16.95). The salmon lived up to its reputation, and the yearling oysters and their brown crust were good enough to skip the tartar and cocktail sauce. A squeeze of lemon was enough. Both were served with red potatoes and sauteed pea pods.
In the past we’ve enjoyed the Ponzu salmon bowl ($16.95), char-grilled silver salmon served over rice with Ponzu sauce; fresh Oregon petrale sole ($16.95), breaded and pan-seared with lemon and parsley; and mahi mahi tacos ($14.95), char-grilled with lime and cilantro and served with flour tortillas, cabbage, tomatoes and salsa mayo with chips and salsa. A request: My usually salmon-centric wife is appealing for the return of the cafe’s coconut prawn bowl.
And, of course, you’ve got your fish and chips, a selection that includes Alaskan true cod ($13.95), Alaskan lingcod ($14.95), wild Alaskan salmon ($14.95), prawns ($16.95) or the fisherman’s catch ($17.95) with prawns, cod, calamari and salmon. All are prepared with a tempura batter. I can report only one recent disappointment, a basket of lingcod with soggy tempura. I know I didn’t squeeze that much lemon on it. Even so, the fish was well cooked.
Appetizers, called Pupus on the menu, include a shrimp cocktail ($7.95), steamed mussels ($9.95), barbecued garlic prawns ($9.95) and steamed Manila clams, $12.95).
Those not fond of seafood can choose from a few turf selections, including a beach burger ($10.95), London broil (15.95) or Double R Ranch top sirloin ($17.95).
Along with bragging about the source of its seafood, the Beach Cafe also leans heavily on Washington state for its wine and beer, serving beer from Everett’s Scuttlebutt and other area breweries and state wines from Buried Cane, L’Ecole No. 41, Thurston Wolfe, Boomtown and Chateau Ste. Michelle.
The cafe also takes a seasonal approach with its desserts. Rhubarb season brought a rhubarb “slump,”($7.95) a cobbler baked in its bowl and served with ice cream, and a rhubarb sorbet ($6.50), an icy tart tower topped with a strawberry. Rhubarb also is used in a selection of cocktails. Expect similar treatment when blueberries are in season.
Go ahead. Knock the sand from your flip-flops, take a seat and remind yourself why you live here.
Anthony’s Beach Cafe
456 Admiral Way, Edmonds; 425-771-4400
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 8:30 p.m.
Alcohol: Washington wines, beers and cocktails.