Andy’s Fish House cooks put together a three piece fish and chips order on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Andy’s Fish House cooks put together a three piece fish and chips order on Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Snohomish, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Explore great fish sandwiches and gluten-free treats in Snohomish

The po’boy at Andy’s Fish House was a pleasant surprise. Up the street, Grain Artisan Bakery has some unmissable post-po’boy treats.

By Jackie Varriano, The Seattle Times

SNOHOMISH — It’s impossible to trademark a food item and sometimes that can be a beautiful thing. Granted, we’ve all got ideas about what “makes” a certain dish — Caesar dressing must have anchovies and please don’t add cream to carbonara — but there are moments when riffs and creative interpretations lead us somewhere wonderful.

Take the po’boy at Andy’s Fish House in Snohomish. The substantial sandwich ($16) is served on fluffier, toasted French bread than the thin, airy loaf you would find in New Orleans, but the main ingredient choices are familiar: blackened catfish, oysters, cod, prawns, chicken or halibut. Another twist comes in the toppings: In addition to the traditional lettuce and tomato, there are ample slices of onion and (most surprisingly) copious amounts of both tartar sauce and cocktail sauce instead of plain mayo.

I ordered the fried halibut version (for an extra $3), and while the resulting sandwich was a bit difficult to wrap my lips around, the extra sauciness absolutely made it. There’s truly nothing like an unexpected kick of horseradish cutting through creamy tartar and crisp, crunchy fish fillets. It’s not what I could call a traditional po’boy, but the riffs made for an excellent sandwich.

Also outstanding on the seafood-centric menu were the spicy halibut tacos with chipotle and avocado sauce ($7 each) and the Caesar salad with shrimp ($13). Big enough to share as a starter (which my friend and I did), the salad is dressed not only with fresh croutons (highly underrated) but a light, mustardy housemade Caesar dressing and plenty of perfectly poached and chilled shrimp.

Open since 2014, Andy’s is a terrific little fish shack with ample (covered! heated!) outdoor seating plopped right on the corner of Avenue D and First Street at the western edge of historical downtown Snohomish. The parking is a bit tricky — the lot adjacent to the restaurant is all reserved — but part of the charm in grabbing lunch at Andy’s is strolling down First Street afterward, where parking is free.

Along that picturesque street you’ll find one antique shop after another with a few shops dedicated to more contemporary home goods sprinkled throughout. And while you will pass the very good Snohomish Pie Co. (915 First St., Suite C) and Snoqualmie Ice Cream (923 First St.) on your trek east, my favorite stop for sweets in downtown Snohomish is Grain Artisan Bakery.

Opened in a former boutique (and hardware store) by Lauren Anderson in fall 2020, Grain is a gluten-free bakery. And while people like my celiac kindergartner are incredibly excited by a bakery where nothing is off-limits, the treats at Grain are truly satisfying for all, even if you don’t have a wheat sensitivity and autoimmune diseases.

In addition to being totally gluten-free, some of the treats in the case daily are also vegan, dairy-free or nut-free. There is no set menu here, but featured items are usually posted on Instagram each morning. In addition to whole cakes and cakes by the slice, there are cookies, scones, sweet and savory breads, cupcakes, brownies and croissants offered on a rotating schedule that seems to be based on whatever sounds good to bakers that morning.

One unmissable item is the signature chocolate chunk cookie ($7.50). It’s about 6 inches wide and shot through with slivers of chocolate that vary in size. It’s wonderfully chewy with just a hint of salt. Also nice was the three-layer chocolate hazelnut cake ($11 per slice) and the funfetti cupcake ($5.25) — both pleasantly moist, even if a little on the dense side.

Consider stops at each to be delicious little bookends on a slow-paced afternoon of window shopping or even finding an antique you can’t live without.

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