There was something missing in Edmonds.
That void nagged at Shubert Ho. Why, he wondered, does this city, with its waterfront beaches, a fishing pier, and downtown rich in small businesses not have a fishmonger?
There once had been one near Brackett’s Landing. But it closed up more than 20 years ago.
“No fishmonger,” Ho said. “I really saw a hole in the market here.”
It was a problem he and business partner Andrew Leckie set out to mend.
“We live in Edmonds, our kids go to school here, and we just realized we needed a fishmonger,” he said.
As they thought more about it, that idea evolved. First it was to sell fresh seafood and maybe add chowder.
“Then, I thought, we need to go big or go home,” Ho said. The storefront space they were converting into a kitchen at 508 Main St. is just steps from the fountain in downtown Edmonds.
“This is prime real estate,” Ho said. “People want more than chowder.”
They decided to add one more element, expanding the menu beyond chowder — using the store’s fresh seafood to provide quick-service food.
Thus its name: Mar-ket Fishmonger & Eatery.
That meant dividing the limited storefront space in two — half kitchen, half retail.
There’s room for eight, though it’s tight, around the store’s crystal countertops. There also are small tables along the sidewalk outside the Mar-ket and one under its awning.
“We want people to enjoy themselves, but we want people to come in and out,” Ho said. “Or take it to go. The idea is quick service.”
Select your food off the chalkboard. Or buy seafood from the display case to take home. For $3 extra, they will cook it for you.
Customers crowded the Mar-ket on its opening night last week, despite the early evening rain.
The elbow-to-elbow experience of eating at the counter had the feeling of a big family meal.
Smiling customers would lean in over your shoulder and ask: “What did you get?” or “How’s that taste?”
Another customer offered advice to the staff, suggesting that the seafood stew ($6) should be served in a wider bowl to allow it to cool a bit. The takeout container kept it at a temperature that would likely keep health inspectors happy, he said, but was a little too hot for eating right after it was served.
The stew is fixed with tomatoes, red pepper and a variety to seafood, similar but slightly thicker than the way cioppino often is prepared.
I had the Mar-ket tacos ($10) with napa cabbage, house aioli, queso fresco, rock fish and Thai cilantro sauce topped with mango salsa — its perfect complement.
The menu also includes a shrimp tostada ($10), fish and chips ($15) a sushi burrito with salmon, hamachi, tuna, seaweed salad, avocado, cucumber, tobio, wrapped in sushi rice and nori ($15), and a salmon bagel ($8).
The most expensive item on the menu is the lobster roll, a lobster salad served on a brioche roll with greens and brown butter ($25).
“People might think that costs an arm and leg — they’re right,” Ho said.
Rather than using frozen lobster tails, the Maine lobsters they use are flown in live daily.
“We did a taste test,” he said. “It just didn’t compare.”
The menu will change with the seasons. There are plenty of opportunities for making specials, Ho said. “Most restaurants don’t have the luxury of having a fishmonger right there.”
This is the fourth business operated by Shubert Ho and his wife, Mira, and Andrew Leckie and his wife, Ciara, in Edmonds.
First was Shooby Doo Catering, opened by Ho’s wife a decade ago in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood and then moved to Edmonds. That was followed by Bar Dojo, adjacent to Five Corners, and Salt & Iron, on the other side of the downtown traffic circle from their newest business.
Even with four food establishments, the business partners may not be done.
There’s a possibility of opening a French bakery in Edmonds with the baker who makes the desserts for both its full-service restaurants.
“We want to keep everything in Edmonds,” Ho said.
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
Mar-ket Fishmonger & Eatery is at 508 Main St., Edmonds.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday Farmers Market days.
Call 425-967-5329 or go to marketfreshfish.com for more information.