Happy New Year!

 

Community Spirit in 2020
&
Looking Ahead to 2021
As we enter the New Year, I wish to take this time to reflect on some wonderful things that our community helped make happen in 2020. I hope to convey my gratitude for all of the hard work and dedication that our guests, team, fishers, farmers, brewers, distillers, and purveyors have put in to make these possible. This was not an easy year for anyone. However, much like sharing food, adversity can bring people together. When communities come together, great things can happen. And we saw this happen here at Ray’s on a daily basis. I am humbled to be part of an organization that fosters this togetherness. Here are a few successes that touched me for which I am most grateful:

Rock The Vote:  We engaged rockthevote.org and encouraged restaurant industry voter registration through social media, in-house materials, and our Ray’s newsletter. The result contributed to more than 4.1 million Washington State voters casting a ballot this year, compared to the 3 million cast in 2008.

Black Lives Matter: We donated 100% of the gratuity from the first month of our meals-to-go program and helped raise awareness within our community as we help to declare racism a public health crisis in Washington State.

Ballard Food Bank: We provided two large perishable food drop-offs plus 100% of our gratuity from our December “gifts to go” promotion to help support those in need throughout our neighborhood.

Educator Gift Card Promotion: This past September, as remote learning started up again, we offered a gratis $20 card for each $100 in gift cards purchased with the hopes that people would gift it to those who are (or have become) educators in their families.

Reinventing Rays Happy Hour: When we re-opened in June, we knew that Seattle would need “more happy.” Our team worked hard to reinstitute our famous Cafe happy hour and facilitated some much-needed outdoor relaxation time for friends and families at a discount.

Best Seafood in Seattle: The fishers and purveyors who bring us amazing seafood, the culinary team members who make it happen, and our loyal Rays fans who voted us to the top as the Seattle Met magazine Best of 2020 “Best Seafood Restaurant”for the second consecutive year.

Resiliency: The guests who have supported us for 47 years, our flexible team that embraces ‘speed to market’ and absorbs change after change, and our compassionate leadership groups’ long-term strategic vision have allowed us to be nimble, adapt, and survive this current challenge. We earned a spot on the Seattle P-I’s “16 Historic Seattle Restaurants Still Open – and What They Look Like Today”article posted on 12/4.

Ray’s has been in Ballard long enough to have lived through the 70s oil crisis, the 80s economic depression, the 90s recession, the 2000s dot com bubble-bursting and the housing market crash. There will be a point in the future when we will all look back on 2020 and reflect on how we each persevered over the challenges we faced. I hope that when this happens, we will each be able to remember those around us who helped prop us up, kept us moving, and provided support. I know I certainly will. And I will thank my family, both here at work and at home, for helping me to remain grateful.

Batched Cocktails & Kits To-Go

Bring home a craft cocktail in a bottle! Our seasonal selection of batched cocktails is now available for pickup on Toast. All you have to worry about is “rocks, or neat,” and choosing a worthy glass. Just grab from the fridge and pour, no mixing required!

If you prefer to make your own beverage, opt for our Private Selection Manhattan Cocktail Kit complete with Ray’s Custom Woodford Reserve Bourbon, a bottle of Dolin Sweet Vermouth and house-made Brandied Cherries. It’s the perfect cocktail kit to spruce up your home bar cart! Stock up for the holidays now via Toast.

Cocktails include:

Barrel-Aged Brooklyn – 1-liter, $50
Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, Dolin dry vermouth, Amaro Ramazzotti. Aged onsite in small American oak barrels. Add on House-Made Brandied Cherries (10oz) for an additional $10.

Barrel-Aged Negroni – 1-liter, $50
Hendricks Gin, Carpano Antica formula vermouth, Dolin rouge vermouth, Campari, aged onsite in small American oak barrels.

Private Selection Manhattan Cocktail Kit – 1-liter, $100
One liter of Woodford Reserve ‘Ray’s Private Selection No.1’ Bourbon, 750 ml of Dolin sweet vermouth and house-made brandied cherries (optional).

House-Made Brandied Cherries – 10oz, $10
Dress up any drink with brandy-drenched holiday festivity. This also serves as a sweet, boozy topper for ice cream and desserts!

Ray’s Holiday Gifts To-Go!

Although winter dining is on pause at Ray’s, our holiday gift offerings are in full swing! Now through December 23, we’re offering select items to-go for your holiday giving!

Choose from bottles of Ray’s Red and Ray’s White Wine, Bollinger Champagne, and Ray’s Custom Woodford Reserve Bourbon, plus highly-allocated bottles of wine pulled directly from our cellar! We also have a small stash of limited-edition Ray’s Hats, the perfect gift for any Ray’s fan!

Order these items for pickup only on Toast and choose your pickup time at checkout. Limited pickup times are available. Please note that Ray’s gift cards and loyalty points cannot be used on Toast. Happy holidays!

Holiday Gift Card Bonus Dec. 1-23!

Treat your loved ones to fresh Northwest seafood and stunning waterfront views when we reopen in 2021 with Ray’s gift cards!

Now through December 23, 2020, for every $100 you spend on Ray’s gift cards, you will receive a complimentary $20 gift card! Keep the bonus card for yourself, or share it with a loved one.

Ray’s is temporarily closed and gift cards can only be purchased online. Choose from an e-gift card (emailed to the recipient) or a physical gift card to be mailed to your address of choice. Ray’s gift cards may be used in either Ray’s Boathouse or Ray’s Cafe.

Thank you for supporting local businesses, and we wish you all a happy holiday season!

A Letter of Thanks from Executive Chef Kevin

This Thanksgiving brings a close-knit holiday at home with loved ones, a day that we at Ray’s would otherwise be happily working for you. It’s a glimpse of reality the year has bestowed upon the restaurant industry.

However different this holiday may look, there is still plenty for which we can be thankful. As a chef, I am always grateful for the bounty the Pacific Northwest has to offer, and the countless people that work every day to ensure that it arrives on our holiday tables. From the farmers of Eastern Washington to the fishermen of Alaska, salespeople to the delivery drivers, the simple act of providing a warm meal requires a multitude of passionate professionals. The Thanksgiving meal is an amazing testament to the complex coordination between these people and is truly something to be thankful for each and every day.

Anne Utigard of King’s Garden is one such person. Once per week she drives from her farm in Eastern Washington over the Cascades to Seattle to deliver her produce to many local Seattle restaurants. Crates of summer-ripened tomatoes give way to autumn sunchokes and squash. Ray’s is lucky to be one of her first stops, both for the quality of her vegetables and for the kindness of her spirit, as anyone who has met Anne can tell you. I look forward to the next time her truck comes rattling into the parking lot.

I’m thankful for our relationship with Fish & Family Seafoods, a family-run business led by Lexi and Adam Hackett out of Sitka, Alaska. They supply us with pristine wild Alaska King salmon, and kind enough to be our guides around Sitka on a Ray’s Managers’ trip a few years back. At Rays, we are also, along with so many of our regular guests, grateful for Penn Cove Shellfish. Multiple generations of Ray’s chefs have had the pleasure of working with Penn Cove mussels, clams and oysters over the past 5 decades (the first Penn Cove delivery to Ray’s was in 1977!). Rawle Jefferds, one of the founders, still hand-delivers shellfish twice per week, without fail a smile on his face, eager to share the pleasures of the sea.

From land—or sea—to your plate is a long trip, and there are many hands on your food in between. Without them and their logistical savvy, getting food onto your plate would be impossible. Eydfinn Tausen of Olympic Seafoods has a knack for sourcing some of Neah Bay’s highest quality sablefish, for which anyone who has tried Ray’s sablefish in sake kasu should be grateful! As well, he coordinates the delivery of thousands of pounds of fat, oily keta salmon straight from Alaska’s Yukon River to Ray’s Boathouse every year. Daniel Shilley, our Merlino Foods delivery driver, is another of thanks. He is the ideal driver: neat, organized, controlled, and calm, a welcome sight twice weekly bearing sacks of flour, jugs of oils, and boxes of luxury. Daniel is always looking for ways to help and goes above and beyond the call of delivery driver.

By no means is this list exhaustive, there are so many more people that I could share, too many in fact. Thanks go to all of you!

Most of all, I am grateful for the amazing staff we have at Ray’s. For my fellow chefs, cooks, dishwashers, front of house staff, and everyone else. They work extremely hard to provide high quality food and service day in and day out. To all my industry friends and colleagues: stay strong, we will get through this time together, and use this time to reflect on what really matters in life and in work. I look forward to cooking and eating with all of you very soon!

During this holiday season, please be safe and stay at home. Wear your mask, and social distance. Please. Try out a new dish that you normally wouldn’t. This Thanksgiving is different, and it’s okay if your holiday table looks different, too! Support local independent restaurants and other small businesses, whether that is ordering take-out/delivery, buying gift cards, or just staying home and being safe so we can all get back to work. Tip, well and often. Urge your local Senator to support the RESTAURANTS ACT which would establish a $120 billion Independent Restaurant Revitalization Fund. We must support our independent restaurants and the thousands of farmers, fishermen, delivery drivers, and others that rely on them!

Finally, a big “thank you” to all health care workers who are working every day on the front lines to keep us all safe!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays,
Executive Chef Kevin Murray

New Fall Dishes at Ray’s!

Satisfy your craving for cozy weather comfort food with an exciting lineup of new Fall dishes available now! Dig in to the hearty flavors of the season with fresh seafood, autumn vegetables, delicious desserts and more!

New for Lunch & Dinner

  • Grilled Wild Alaskan King Salmon with brown butter, squash purée, roasted delicata squash, sautéed maitake mushrooms and lacinato kale
  • House-Made Tagliatelle Pasta with roasted butternut squash, spinach, whipped ricotta, brown butter breadcrumbs and fried sage
  • Dungeness Crab Cakes with grilled zucchini, smoked piquillo pepper aïoli, frisee salad with blood orange, sweet peppers, pickled red onions and pickled watermelon radish
  • Potato Leek Soup with puréed Yukon gold potato and leek, cold smoked salmon, ikura, chive, crème fraiche
  • Kale and Washington Apple Salad with lacinato kale, Honeycrisp apples, toasted pine nuts, pickled shallots, lemon vinaigrette and Grana Padano
  • Smoked Sablefish Brandade with puréed potatoes and smoked sablefish dip topped with horseradish vinaigrette served with crostini

New Lunch Dishes

  • Fried Chicken Sandwich made with a crispy fried chicken thigh, spicy Brussels sprout slaw, mustard aioli and pickled red onion
  • Steak Frites made with grilled sirloin steak, French fries, green peppercorn sauce, frisee salad and a warm bacon vinaigrette
  • Prawns and Grits with Anson Mills grits, serrano chiles, scallions, tomatoes, and Del Pacifico prawns

New Dinner Dishes

  • Pan Seared Alaskan Halibut with spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts and red pepper vinaigrette
  • Grilled RR Ranch Ribeye with roasted garlic whipped mashed potatoes, seared Brussels sprouts, and green peppercorn sauce
  • Dungeness Crab Risotto with saffron-scented risotto, fresh Dungeness crab and wild chanterelle mushrooms
  • Pan-Seared Scallops with celery root-parsnip purée, chanterelle mushrooms, roasted parsnips, sherry-sage gastrique and fried sage

For a little something sweet enjoy a decadent slice of Epic Chocolate Cake from The Sweetside Bakery plus our house-made Baked Washington Apple Pie a la Mode.

Thanksgiving Dine-in & To-Go at Ray’s! – SOLD OUT

NOTE: THANKSGIVING DAY DINING AND TO-GO AT RAY’S IS NOW SOLD OUT! 

Celebrate Thanksgiving at Ray’s two ways! Dine in the restaurant with us on Thanksgiving Day, November 26 from 11am-8pm, and enjoy a delicious three-course holiday meal including choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert, as well as a la carte items. Or pre-order our Thanksgiving Dinner To-Go for pickup on Thanksgiving Day, to enjoy in the comfort of your home.

Thanksgiving To-Go – SOLD OUT

If you’re dining at home this year pre-order Ray’s Thanksgiving Dinner To-Go via Toast! Each dish is freshly prepared and served ready to enjoy. Choose from our prix-fixe three-course menu with choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert or select from our a la carte menu including appetizers, entrées, traditional sides, and whole pies! You may also order a combination of prix-fixe and a la carte items.

Pre-order closes on Monday, November 16 at 8:30pm. Pick-up is available only on Thursday, November 26 at Ray’s. Please select your pickup time at checkout from 11:45am-8:30pm.

Three-Course Thanksgiving To-Go Menu

Appetizer – choice of one
Potato Leek Soup (Vegetarian)
Fall Kale Salad (GF, Vegetarian)
Caesar Salad

Entrée – choice of one
Traditional Turkey Dinner
Wild King Salmon with traditional Thanksgiving Sides
Mushroom Risotto (GF, Vegetarian)

Dessert – choice of one
Slice of Pumpkin Pie
Slice of Pecan Pie

Don’t forget to add-on our Pinot Noir sampler pack or cocktails!

Our three-course dinner to-go is $60 per person (tax and gratuity not included) and feeds one person. Add on multiples of the same meal or mix-and-match with our a la carte items to feed a group!

A la Carte Thanksgiving To-Go Menu

Appetizers
Kale Salad (GF, Vegetarian) – $10
Potato Leek Soup (Vegetarian) – $9

Entrées (each feed 1 person)
Traditional Turkey Dinner – $42
Wild King Salmon with Traditional Thanksgiving Sides – $44
Wild Mushroom Risotto (GF, Vegetarian) – $41

Whole Pies & Slices
Pecan Pie Slice – $10
Pumpkin Pie Slice – $10
10” Pecan Pie Whole – $50
10” Pumpkin Pie Whole – $50

Sides
One-Quart Stuffing – $10
One-Quart Mashed Potatoes (GF, Vegetarian) – $10
One-Pint Turkey Gravy – $10
One-Pint Cranberry Sauce (GF, Vegetarian) – $10

*Please Note: no promotional discounts available for Thanksgiving To-Go. Loyalty cards and gift cards are not accepted through Toast.

Thanksgiving Dining at Ray’s – SOLD OUT

Join us in the restaurant for Thanksgiving and enjoy our prix-fixe holiday menu featuring Ray’s signature fresh seafood, traditional holiday favorites and vegetarian options. Take in beautiful views of the water and mountains while you relax in our dining room. Reservations are required and can be made online here!

Three-Course Dine-in Menu

Appetizer – choice of one
Potato Leek Soup (Vegetarian)
Fall Kale Salad (GF, Vegetarian)
Delicata Squash with Burrata

Entrée – choice of one
Traditional Turkey Dinner
Wild King Salmon with traditional Thanksgiving Sides
Rib Eye Steak with traditional Thanksgiving Sides
Mushroom Risotto (GF, Vegetarian)

Dessert – choice of one
Pumpkin Pie
Pecan Pie
Ice Cream
Sorbet

We’ll also be serving an a la carte menu of our most-loved dishes!

Dine-in Details & Safety Measures:
Our three-course dinner is $55 per person for dine-in (beverages, tax, and gratuity not included). A three-course Thanksgiving children’s menu will be available for $25 per person (beverages, tax, and gratuity not included), as well as a la carte options.

Thanksgiving Day reservations are required and will be available from 11am-8pm on Thursday, November 26. Reservations are for inside seating only and are available for groups of six people or less.

Any guests requesting a table with more than six people will need to make two separate reservations, with two separate phone numbers, and will be seated at different times in different parts of the restaurant.

We kindly ask that all parties arrive on time for their reservation as we have no lobby space to hold guests.

*Please Note: no promotional discounts available for Thanksgiving Day. Loyalty cards accepted and encouraged.

Rock The Vote with Ray’s this October!

At Ray’s we believe that voting is one of the most important steps we can take for our democracy, for the future of our country and for generations to come. Our managers, cooks, servers, dish washers, hosts and bartenders each have their own reasons that they vote, and all are equally important.

Our goal this October is to give a voice to everyone through voting. This cannot be done without first registering to vote, so we are doing everything we can to help spread the word and get all of our guests and everyone in the restaurant community registered by October 26, 2020!

You can register to vote in two minutes or less by texting Rock The Vote at 788-683 or visiting rockthevote.org to learn more and register online.

Please help spread the word to everyone you know about how easy it is to register and let’s all put our voices to use this November 3rd!

Important dates and details for Washington Voters

      • Registration deadline: Monday, October 26, 2020
      • Voting by mail: All registered voters will be mailed a ballot. If you’re already registered, check your details by October 26 to make sure your ballot is going to the right place. You can drop your ballot at your county election office, a voting drop box, or mail it via USPS with plenty of time for it to arrive.
      • Early in-person voting: October 16 until November 2. Check your county for exact details.
      • Voter ID: Not needed to vote.
      • Voting abroad: Are you a U.S. citizen living abroad or a uniformed service member? Request an overseas ballot.
      • Voting deadline: Tuesday, November 3, 2020

New Wine Sampler Packs To-Go!

Ray’s is ushering in the changing season with an exciting line up of New Wine Sampler Packs, available to order now on Toast! Skip browsing at the wine shop or grocery store and opt for these special sampler packs featuring bottles hand-selected by Ray’s Wine Director Chip Croteau.

Chip dug deep into our wine cellar and pulled out some stunning bottles! He’s created a rare chance to try three (or four) decades of Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. If you’re in the mood for Pinot Noir, enjoy a three-year vertical of three different bottlings from Oregon’s legendary cult winery, Antica Terra. Or opt for our Northwest Fall Sampler Pack to enjoy local wines perfect for sipping in the soon-to-come cooler weather. Cheers!

Ray’s New Wine Sampler Packs include:

Northwest Fall Sampler Pack – $145
Four bottles from top Northwest producers to enjoy as we settle into Fall!

Willakenzie ‘Pierre Leon’ Pinot Noir 2014
EFESTE ‘Final Final’ 2015
Betz Family Winery ‘Bésoleil’ 2016
Delille Cellars ‘Doyenne’ 2017

Sea Smoke ‘Southing’ Pinot Noir Vertical Three-Pack – $275
Three vintages from one of the best Pinot Noir producers in California! Hailing from the Santa Rita Hills appellation in Santa Barbara, Sea Smoke balances power and finesse, year after year. Try the 2015, 2016 and 2017 vintages side by side! Want to add a fourth year? Addon a 2014 1.5L Magnum for an additional $175.

Three Decades of Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon – $650
A rare chance to try vintages spanning three different decades from the famed Quilceda Creek Winery. Arguably the best producer of Cabernet in the Northwest, if not the country. This is a once in a lifetime flight of wines! Featuring one bottle each from 1993, 2006 and 2016 pulled directly from our pristine cellar. Want to add a fourth decade? Add-on the 1984 vintage for an additional $200.

Antica Terra Winery Three Bottle Vertical – $425
Winemaker Maggie Harrison, from famed Sine Qua Non Winery in California started Antica Terra Winery in Oregon and has built it into one of the best Pinot Noir houses in the Northwest. Try three different bottlings from three different years, all from the beautiful Willamette Valley!

Antikythera 2014 – Their epic estate bottling
Botanica 2015 – Floral and fruit forward
Ceras 2016 – Flavors of minerals and herbs

Book your 2021 or 2022 Wedding at Ray’s!

Book your 2021 or 2022 wedding today! Prime wedding dates at Ray’s private Northwest Room are beginning to fill up for 2021 and 2022, so don’t delay in saving your date and planning for your celebration!

Winner of Best Seafood in 2019 by Seattle Magazine, Ray’s boasts the best waterfront venue in Seattle that includes your own private deck with breathtaking views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Your guests will delight in local, sustainable Northwest seafood, delicious cocktails, Washington wines and more.

Enjoy our inclusive wedding packages, recommended vendors, complimentary on-site parking, dedicated dressing areas, plus a designated event manager from start to finish! Our talented and dedicated team will help you pull off the wedding of your dreams seamlessly.

With weekend and weekday dates available, inquire today by emailing rayscatering@rays.com or calling 206.789.6309. Schedule a tour and learn more about hosting your wedding at our beautiful waterfront Northwest Room here in Ballard!

Photo by Ksenia Vasenev Photography