Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar was opened in July 2017 by Jenn and Sieb Jurriaans, who also operate the nearby Prima Bistro restaurant. They try and source their seafood from Coupeville’s Penn Cove Shellfish except for the lobster which comes from Maine. It’s a fairly small place and they take no reservations so people start lining up before the doors open. Inside are small wood tables (counter seating at the bar and in the middle of the room), music and photos of fish and other nautical items. Some fish nets hanging from the ceiling are decorated with glass fish. The full bar also offers a number of beers on tap. Service was friendly, efficient and helpful. It’s about the only seafood restaurant in town but my reaction to the food was mixed. Dinner offered more choices especially if you don’t want fried seafood.
A chilled Dungeness crab cocktail was excellent. Lots of lovely sweet pieces of crabmeat were on top of the spicy cocktail sauce. This was a nice presentation and the delicate crab was not already coated with sauce and you could eat it lightly seasoned. I did adore the horseradish heavy cocktail sauce and kept some of it to try on later dishes.
Rainier Beer battered Halibut was with fries and tartar sauce. It was 2 good-sized pieces of crispy halibut that were hot, fresh from the fryer. One piece was thicker and that fish stayed more moist. The tartar sauce was nice but the fries were wonderful. They were a coated variety but it stayed nicely crisp on the outside yet still had potato flavor on the inside.
Northwest oysters from Goosepoint were corn meal dredged and served with fries and tartar sauce. There were more than a half dozen of the medium-sized oysters on the plate. The same great fries were underneath. I was surprised that I liked them better dipped in the tartar sauce than the earlier served red sauce. The variety of oysters was a strongly flavored one and they were kept fairly juicy.
Triple ginger carrot cake with brown butter cream cheese frosting sounded too good to pass up and our server strongly recommended it. She was right. It was a dense one-layer cake topped with a generous amount of frosting and a piece of candied ginger. The wonderful texture was matched by the flavor. A totally yummy ending to the meal.