Nothing quite beats having seafood within eyesight of Possession Sound.
Dining in a historic building isn’t too shabby either.
No, I’m not talking about Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing, in a building built in 1926. Kiss of the Ocean, a new seafood, steak and Mexican restaurant, is housed in the oldest building in Mukilteo, just up the hill from the ferry.
The three-story building at Second Street and Park Avenue was built in 1903. It was the town’s only grocery store in its early years and most recently housed a Mexican restaurant, La Cascada Acapulco, until it closed in 2011.
Mukilteo resident John Muñoz — who owned eight restaurants and operated 10 food trucks with his wife, Alina, for over 20 years in California — opened it two weeks ago.
John and Alina were ready to retire when they moved here three years ago. But then Muñoz, 59, noticed the vacant building on his walks to the beach. He got to thinking that it still had potential to be a restaurant that could compete with the likes of Ivar’s.
“And here we are,” Muñoz said. “It’s all about location. You can’t beat it.”
Kiss of the Ocean features dining rooms and a bar on the first floor, plus a patio with outdoor seating, where diners can enjoy the view of the Sound.
On a recent day, my dad and I decided to sit outside. Being able to smell salt water from my seat certainly influenced my order. I tried the two-piece fish and chips for $14.50. One piece is $11.50.
They were extra crispy — just the way I like them — and they didn’t fall apart after I dipped them a few times in tartar sauce, like most deep-fried fish I’ve eaten. The pieces of cod were thick and flavorful.
“We work really hard on our batter to make sure that tastes really good,” Muñoz said. “We use a really nice tempura, then we add some beer and spice it up. The batter comes out thick and golden brown when you fry it.”
I’ve had good fish and chips before, and this one ranks right up there. The fries were also thick-cut and not too crispy nor too soft. They also get a thumbs up.
My dad ordered a chicken quesadilla for $10.50, made with grilled chicken and a mild cheddar cheese. He was impressed.
“It felt like they grilled the chicken first, then put it in the quesadilla,” he said. “That’s what it tasted like to me. Then, of course, the grilled quesadilla with the sour cream was awesome.”
Plenty of other things on the menu caught our eye. The Freaky Fries section — inspired by the Muñoz’s food trucks — has a variety of fry sides, as well as what Muñoz coined “trash can” nachos.
Muños planned to open a traditional steak and seafood restaurant, but he soon realized Mexican cuisine was in high demand after La Cascada Acapulco closed. Other Mexican dishes on the menu are fajitas, chile verde and tacos.
Old photographs from Mukilteo’s early days hang on the walls, which pay homage to the restaurant’s history.
The original owner, N.J. Smith, kept livestock on the first floor of his grocer, the N.J. Smith Store. The groceries were on the second floor, while Smith lived on the third.
I was more into my fish and chips than the history, but it’s cool that a building built more than 100 years ago is still in use.
It’s also located on my commuting route to the ferry dock, so I’d say it’s a win-win.
Evan Thompson: email@example.com, 360-544-2999. Twitter: @evanthompson_1.
Kiss of the Ocean
The seafood, steak and Mexican restaurant is at 801 Second St., Mukilteo.
Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thurdsday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Call 425-513-1009 or go to www.kissoftheocean.com for more information.