BOAT APPÉTIT! F O O D I E S O N T H E WAT E R
The Seattle area has one of the most robust and lively restaurant scenes in the country. A night out can be a fantastic experience, especially if you can leave the car home and hit the water instead. By Captain Herb Hunt
Facing Page, clockwise from top: The Chinook Room at Ivar's Salmon House; Ivar's salmon, Westward's fried potatoes Sprouts and beer; Westward's chefs, inside the Salmon House; Westward's Bar.
84 NORTHWEST YACHTING || JANUARY 2019
An evening sail or boat ride along the shores of Lake Washington and into Lake Union can make for a magical experience. As a licensed captain who transits these waters for a living, I would know! The difficult part is wrangling the logistics of dock space, walking distance, and type of cuisine for a memorable evening. To help, I’ll take you on a tour by dividing Lake Union up into sections by the compass, starting in the south and rotating counter clockwise. I’ll cover additional locations of Lake Washington and then west towards the Ballard Locks later in this article.
SOUTH LAKE UNION South Lake Union has several docks and spaces to tie up for your temporary stay. Check your calendar as during the various boat shows, you will be hard pressed to find room in this area. Starting along the far southwestern shore, the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) docks are handled by The Center for Wooden Boats. There are two areas referred to as the North Wall and the West Wall. The West Wall is a four-foot-high, concrete wall about 300 feet long that is available on a first-come basis, unless the space is reserved for an event. This dock is high, therefore, depending on your freeboard or lake height, this step-up needs to be considered. The North Wall (250-foot-long wooden section, three feet tall) requires you to call ahead. Call The Center for Wooden Boats (206-382-2628) during their normal business hours to make arrangements to drop line to cleat. Via the walking bridge towards the southwest, you’ll find the restaurants Art Marble 21, Buca di Beppo (Italian), and the Cask & Trotter. Art Marble 21 is a contemporary New American kind of place with a huge game room (think pool tables and arcade machines). Cask & Trotter is known for its awesome barbeque, upscale bourbons, and intimate atmosphere. The MOHAI Café is centrally located on the south shore, in the northeast corner of the MOHAI building and across from the historic steamship Virginia V’s berth. Several other restaurants are further south in a high-tech complex and within walking distance. Just east of The Center for Wooden Boats is Daniel’s Broiler—known for its steaks—with a little known, approximately 30-foot dock, hidden around the shore side (southeast), available on a first-come basis. This dock is hard to find, but the small slip is a secret gem.
Continuing eastward, a great docking area in Chandler’s Cove, which runs north/south, happens to be next door to Duke’s Seafood and Chowder and other restaurants. This whole area is going through a transition that has many of the restaurants and business moving in the near future, so it is a good idea to check websites before you go. Duke’s is an example of this exodus, and is moving two blocks away to Fairview Ave. North. The north end of that dock is angled to the east and offers more open area to maneuver, but because it is a lower floating dock, there is exposure to traffic wake and north winds. The deeper you venture into the south portion of this dock, you’ll find more protection and a higher dock area for your fenders. Just be careful to make sure you can turn your boat around, for on a warm day many eyes will be watching your landing.
Mid-East and Northeast Along the mid-eastern shore, Pete’s Market at the base of East Lynn Street is perfect for takeout or restocking a smaller boat, paddleboard, dinghy, or even a willing swimmer. The access is shallow and limited as it is a small park with wooden steps and a picturesque bench setting where the street end meets the lake’s end. Please be respectful of the local houseboats and surrounding community to keep this location clean and accessible. Pete’s Market has cold beer and a large selection of great wines. They also have a deli, so you can opt for a spontaneous picnic aboard your vessel. The trick is the size of boat you have; stay offshore if over 20 feet in length. Send in your trusted mate to the small beach. Near the northeastern end of Lake Union is a private dock, The Landing at Tyee. Although it’s private, it’s a great venue for a big event. We even slipped the Virginia V into that spot four years ago. The dock can handle four to six vessels, depending on size (dock height is about three feet high with good cleats). See their website for reservations and event planning: thelandingattyee.com.
NORTH LAKE UNION At the north end of Lake Union, there are two restaurants with their own docks. Ivar’s Salmon House has a well-maintained floating dock running east and west (12 inches high and about 225 feet long). Smaller boats can dock at either side on the western end. Usually this dock has a fast turnover, as people are often