It’s time for Copper River Salmon & Oregon Pinot Noir!

With Copper River salmon season upon us our Wine Manager Chip Croteau has put together an incredible list of Oregon Pinot Noir to pair with it in the Boathouse and Cafe! The bright fruit flavors and acidity of Pinot Noir is the perfect complement to Copper River salmon. Ask your server for their recommendation and try something new and exciting from our wine-growing neighbors down south!

Angela Estate Pinot Noir
Yamhill-Carlton, OR 2013
15 gls / 58 btl
Ken Wright oversees production on these estate grown bottlings.  Smooth and supple, the fruit a mix of ripe raspberry, red plum and cherry jam, with a gentle touch of chocolate.  Seamless and delicious.

 

Beckham Estate Vineyard
Rosé of Pinot Noir
Chehalem Mountains, OR 2017
14 gls / 51 btl
A pale blush color, mouthwatering acidity and notes of apricots, honeydew and grapefruit are featured on this lovely estate grown Rosé named after the winemaker’s youngest daughter, Olivia.

 

Rex Hill Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, OR 2015
16gls / 62 btl
Aromas of violets, iris, ripe raspberries, dark cherries and wild strawberries all emerge from the glass followed by more savory aromas of wood smoke, cured tobacco, earth, sandalwood and cinnamon.

 

Sozo Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, OR 2014
15 gls / 58 btl
With fruit sourced from Lange winery, and a portion of the proceeds going towards WEC’s People for Puget Sound program, this wine exhibits intense and complex aromas of black cherry and cranberry with elegantly textured flavors of dark strawberry and pomegranate.

 

Evening Land Pinot Noir
Seven Springs Vineyard
Eola-Amity Hills, OR 2014
25 gls / 92 btl
30 year old vines planted in the iron-rich, volcanic Jory soils of the Eola-Amity Hills create this stunning wine flush with rich dark cherry, briary blackberry, raspberry and lush tones of rose and lilac.

 

Big Table Farm Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, OR 2015
26 gls / 95 btl
This wine is very expressive of smoky espresso, cacao, oak-spiced raspberry and cherry aromas, along with hints of vanilla and cola. Sweet and penetrating on the palate, offering vibrant red berry and floral  flavors of hibiscus tea and rosewater that deepen as the wine opens up.

Fresh Fish Series: Last of season Copper River Coho at Ray’s

Cafe_King Salmon 2

The summer fresh season is winding down for this year’s Fresh Fish Series, but we’re going out with a bang! Our friends in Alaska, Mike and Nelly Hand of Drifters Fish will be setting nets on the Copper River Delta searching for the last of this year’s salmon species to swim up the river, and be delivered to Ray’s this weekend!

Copper River Coho aka “silvers” may not receive the hype that its bigger brother King salmon gets, but it has made the long journey back to its spawning grounds, and although silvers are more lean than kings, they are fit and full of the same healthy protein and omega-3s.

Make your reservation for Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10 in our first floor Boathouse, as our Coho will be air flown and delivered to Ray’s fresh on Saturday. Our  veteran fish monger Thai Hong will be filleting Saturday afternoon for evening service and we have a gorgeous preparation in store for you:

Crispy Copper River Coho salmon with a rich, creamy corn sauce, roasted cauliflower dusted with fennel, arugula and pepitas. 

For Boathouse reservations call 206. 789.3770 or click here.

See you this weekend!

– Steve Hauch, Executive Sous Chef

Special Ray’s Menu Benefits FareStart thru June 4

FareStart Dinner May 21

This past weekend we had the pleasure of hosting the winners of our FareStart live auction item! They were treated to a custom Copper River King Salmon menu from Executive Chef Paul Duncan, with wine pairings by our Wine Director Chip Croteau. They enjoyed a sunny dinner on the deck of our first floor Boathouse during the opening weekend of Copper River!

Now all of our guests can enjoy this menu and help support FareStart! Today through June 4, 2017 order our 3-Course Copper River menu for $85 in the first floor Boathouse, and Ray’s will donate proceeds to FareStart to help fund its vital job training programs.

3-Course Copper River Menu $85

First
Ahi Poke, fresh Yellowfin tuna, ginger-soy marinade, compressed watermelon, wasabi aïoli, wontons

Second
Copper River King Salmon, asparagus-fennel salad, basil pesto, roasted spring onion, hollandaise, pumpernickel bread crumbs

Third
Chocolate Decadence, vanilla whipped cream, brandy snap

Please note the menu content and price may change based on availability.

Reserve your table in the Boathouse online or call 206.789.3770 today!

Fresh Fish Series: Copper River Salmon Is Here!

The Mighty Copper River
The Mighty Copper River

Copper River Salmon is here!

Not so fast. We’ll be waiting on edge all day today to find out if the salmon are out there. Yesterday, the fishing fleets headed a couple of hours away from Cordova, AK to the mouth of the Copper River delta.  Most scouted the area yesterday looking for the best spots to set nets. Then, 7am this morning, Alaska Fish and Game gave the call. Fishing is on!

They’ll have 12 hours to fish. Some will offload fish at nearby tender boats, but most will race back to Cordava to offload their catch where they’ll receive more money for the catch.

Variables to make a successful fishing trip are countless. Ocean swells, tides, air temperatures, water temperatures, wind, rain, river flow, sediment, delta sandbars, (they change all of the time), number of boats fishing. It keeps going. Not an easy way of life.

How about some bullet points?

  • The Copper River is 290 miles long. It’s the tenth largest in the United States.
  • The ruggedness of the river, with its vast gorges and steep falling grade, make it necessary for the salmon to become fat and strong in order to swim upstream and spawn. Hence why they are so delicious.
  • It’s known for its miles of sprawling deltas.
  • On the sandbars, you’ll see massive groups of bald eagles, sea lions and the occasional bear waking up from the winter hibernation.
  • 1983 Ray’s partnered with Jon Rowley and became the first restaurant in the Pacific NW to serve Copper River Salmon. We’ve served Copper River salmon ever since. (I was 2 years old then).

Ray’s has again partnered with Ocean Beauty Seafoods for Copper River season. They’ll make sure we have a few king salmon to prepare your dinner Friday evening. We have to be patient though… It’s a tight timeline for a long journey.  Fish is caught, sent to processing, trucked to the small Cordava airport, loaded on to an Alaska Airlines plane to Anchorage then down to SeaTac. From there they go to Ocean Beauty’s facility in Seattle, and finally to Ray’s Boathouse. All in a matter of about 30 hours!

Along with Ocean Beauty, we have a new partner this year, Michael and Nelly Hand. Drifters Fish is their company name. They will be fishing and giving us updates direct from the boat! Hopefully we’ll be able to serve king salmon caught by them Saturday evening. So for that, we wish the Hand’s a safe and prosperous day on the ocean.

I’m really excited this year to share as much info as I can with you. Keep checking in with social media. And make your reservations. This fish goes fast!

Stephen Hauch, Executive Sous Chef

Ray’s loves Oregon Pinot Noir!

Rex Hill Dinner-1

At Ray’s Boathouse & Cafe we are honored to work with so many great people in our local food and beverage community. For decades we have partnered with and supported our friends at Rex Hill Winery, a winery that has been crafting elegant Pinot Noirs since 1982 in Oregon’s Willamette Valley; and we are proud to have been the first restaurant in the area to carry their impressive wines!

Recently we had the privilege to host some of our friends from Rex Hill Winery (Carrie Kalscheuer), A to Z Wine Works (Annette Larson and Rick Vehrs) and Click Wholesale Distributing (Greg Giere and Dee Torres) for a fun gathering in the Boathouse to share and taste some delicious Pinot Noirs dating back to vintages from 1983!

Here is a peek into what was sniffed, sipped and swirled that evening:

  • 2008 Moutard Cepage Arbane, Buxeuil to begin
  • 1983 Rex Hill Pinot Noir – Rex Hill’s first vintage!
  • 1988 Rex Hill Dundee Pinot Noir
  • 1988 Yamhill Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir
  • 2010, 2011, 2012 Beaux Frères Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • 1964 Cruse & Fils Freres Haut Sauternes to finish

Join us this summer in the Boathouse to enjoy a glass (or bottle) of Oregon Pinot Noir paired perfectly with our Copper River Salmon specials, as we’ve been expertly executing for more than 30 years!

Ray’s at the Copper River

Cordova Harbor
Ray’s team in the background of Cordova Harbor, Alaska.

Our team had the exciting opportunity to visit the Copper River in Cordova, Alaska this May for the start of the Copper River salmon fishing season! Our GM Douglas Zellers, one of our owners and Ray’s Founding Partner Russ Wohlers, Executive Chef Paul Duncan and Executive Sous Chef Steve Hauch spent a week delving into the ins and outs of the fishing industry, talking with multi-generational Cordova fishermen and exploring the gorgeous local scenery.

A big thank you to Ocean Beauty Seafoods who were wonderful hosts to our team! They enjoyed a flyover of the Copper River and a tour of their processing facility.

Here are some highlights and insights from Alaska by our team, and a short video by our Executive Sous Chef Steve Hauch of the first Copper River catch!

Protect Your Environment: “You’re not just buying fish, you’re buying the life of a fisherman – Bill Webber Jr., Fisherman. ” Being immersed in a community that is 99.9% dependent on fishing is an eye opener. These fisherman are dependent on catching enough fish to pay their mortgage or buy clothes for their children. There was a real sense of anxiety as 500+ boats left the harbor, an air of anticipation as the reports trickled back in, and disappointment as they unloaded what was a very small catch even for an opener. However, the captains we spoke with were optimistic and in it for the long haul. They know the fish will hit, they just don’t know when. But the immediate impact of not catching fish is real.

Fresh and Safe Fish:  Watching the entire process from an aerial flight over the fleet on the morning of the first opener, to watching the fish arrive via video at Rays in less than 18 hours was impressive.  When we say we have fresh fish – we really have fresh fish.  The Ocean Beauty supply chain was very well managed. The facilities and boats were all very clean and organized. The crews were all very friendly.  It is a symbiotic relationship, we need each other to perform well. After all, what is Copper River Salmon without the story or the restaurant guests who are willing to pay for quality fresh fish.

Time Tested yet Looking Forward:  Fishing in some fashion is as old as perhaps man himself.  Some boats, captains, and crew certainly looked that part. However, without leaving that salty realm, other captains are deeply immersed in innovation. On one of his walks Russ made conversation with a gentleman named Bill Webber Sr. who was mending his nets in a parking lot. Low and behold he was the fisherman that worked with Jon Rowley back in the late 70’s and he caught and transported the Copper River Salmon to Rays for the ‘big show and tell’ in the early 80’s.  As big as that state is, it still remains a close knit small community.

Bill Sr. Suggested we visit his sons boat “Paradigm Shift” and hear about the advances he is making in how the fish are cared for until they are delivered to your door. Bill Jr. gave us a short tour of his boat and explained some of the things that he is doing that should change the industry over time as people adopt them.  Bill Jr. is an independent fisherman who sells his own catch via his website.

He told a tale that sounds like one you may read in a book: He is the son of a man who has lived and fished in Cordova for 60 years, he has been fishing since he could see over the rail, his wife does the books, he builds boats and fishing gear. But Bill Jr. is taking it forward. He has bar code tags for each fish he catches that links that fish through the supply chain and directly connects it to his on board inventory management spreadsheets. He has innovated an intravenous pressure bleeding system that removes all blood from the fish in about 20 seconds thus dramatically stalling the onset of deterioration, and he is working with transportation companies to get the product to the destination faster.

If you read his website you will notice phrases like lead by examplechange the industry, and total quality.  This is similar to the shift that Bruce Gore created in the late 70’s when he pioneered frozen at sea. Once we had that product we never looked at frozen fish the same again, and it eventually became standard.  We can see the same thing happening with Bill Webber Jr.’s operation.

Celebrate the 2015 Copper River Salmon Season at Ray’s

Ray's Salmon + Asparagus 1

 

Starting Friday, May 15th and just in time for the 2015 Copper River salmon season, Ray’s Boathouse & Café will be offering a selection of Pinot and Copper River salmon pairings.

 

The offers will run May 15-June 15, 2015. This year’s Copper River run is slated to begin on Friday, May 15th.

 

Ray’s seafood restaurant in Seattle has a rich history with Copper River salmon. In 1983 Jon Rowley brought the first Copper River to Ray’s Boathouse to serve to guests, prior to this it was typically canned and shipped to Asia. It was an instant favorite and has become a coveted seasonal delicacy ever since.

 

Boathouse Specials:

20 pinots by the glass via Ray’s Coravin wine system, including – Domaine Drouhin, Shea Wine Cellars, Domaine Serene, Beaux Frères.

 

Café Specials:

Featured wine pairings by the glass and bottle, including – Pinots and big, rich chardonnays, that compliment the fat bellied flavor of the Copper River salmon, as well as King and Coho.

 

Both Venues Will Offer the Following:

 

Copper River Sockeye – Seared  crispy skin, cauliflower puree butter radish and Chioggia beets, oregano pesto.

Copper River King Salmon – Grilled, watercress, super sweet cherry tomatoes, sherry – carrot vinaigrette.