Wild Alaskan King Salmon & Pinot Noir – a Perfect Pairing!

We celebrate fresh wild Alaskan King Salmon every spring at Ray’s and there is no better pairing we’ve found than Oregon Pinot Noir. It’s a combination that Ray’s made popular way back and still holds true today.

Our Wine Director Chip Croteau is excited to share with you his Pinot Noir pick for this year: Brick House Vineyard Estate Pinot Noir ‘Les Dijonnaise’ Ribbon Ridge, OR 2016.

Chip’s Tasting Notes: Sourced from their 100% Biodynamically farmed estate vineyard in Ribbon Ridge, this stunner displays a classic nose of red cherries and berries with nuances of spiced cranberries and wonderful layers of earth and mineral: cola, wood smoke, dusty earth, dried tea leaves and touches of cracked pepper. Medium-bodied and silky textured, it fills the mouth with warm red fruits that carry the layers of earth and spice on the mouthwatering, layered finish. This is lovely!

Come to the first floor Boathouse to enjoy it every Wednesday-Sunday 5-9pm!

Welcome Back to The Boathouse!

We are thrilled to once again be serving you in The Boathouse!

Come enjoy your favorite fresh Northwest seafood dishes, award-winning wine program and the best scenery in Seattle every Wednesday-Sunday from 5-9pm.

Reservations are now available for our main level indoor dining room. Our outdoor deck is not available for reservations and is seated on a first come basis, weather pending

Take a peek at highlights from The Boathouse’s reopening menu below and view the full menu here.

Razor Clams panko crusted, crispy fried, Thai tartar, basil
Applewood Grilled Sablefish Sake Kasu quinoa, yuzu dashi, carrots, edamame, bok choy, Shiitake mushrooms
Grilled Wild Alaskan King Salmon garlic & rosemary duck fat roasted potatoes, grilled WA asparagus, dill beurre blanc
Pacific Northwest Halibut cauliflower purée, snap peas, wild mushrooms, pea vines, hazelnuts, parsley vinaigrette
Dungeness Crab Cakes fried green tomatoes, sweet corn purée, green onions, hollandaise
Seared Oyster Mushrooms capers, kale, rice pilaf, Calabrian chili, miso, micro arugula
Penn Cove Clams tom kha broth, pickled serrano chilis, green onions, scallion oil grilled baguette

We’ll see you soon!

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!

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

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! Ray’s Family Meals To-go

Try our new Ray’s Family Meals to-go with four delicious family-style menus! Each ones comes fully cooked and is hot and ready to eat at pickup. Family Meals are available to order online daily from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. only on Ray’s Toast page.

Order a meal for one to two people or build a bigger family meal by adding two or three of the same meal or mixing and matching. We’ve also included recommended wine and cocktail pairings for each meal that can be added on for an additional cost. Cheers!

Ray’s Family Meal Menu:

True Cod Fish & Chips Meal (serves 1-2) $30
Cup of Ray’s New England Style Clam Chowder
2 piece True Cod fish and Chips
Cookie Bag (house baked cookies that change daily)

Pairing suggestions:
Torre Oria Brut Cava Sparkling Wine (bottle)
Underground Wine Projects ‘Mr Pink’ Washington Rosé 2019(bottle)
Black Cherry Margarita (serves 2)

Ray’s Famous Sablefish Dinner (serves 1-2) $62
Caesar Salad
1 large Crab Cake with orange-tarragon aïoli
Sablefish in Sake Kasu

Pairing suggestions:
Willakenzie Estate Pinot Noir ‘Pierre Leon’ Willamette Valley, OR 2014 (bottle)
Sokol Blosser Estate Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, OR 2018 (bottle)
Barrel-Aged Brooklyn Cocktail (serves 2)

An Evening of Seafood (serves 2) $80
Bowl of Ray’s New England Style Clam Chowder
Ray’s Seafood Salad featuring Oregon bay shrimp, house smoked Alaskan Coho salmon and house smoked scallops
Pan Seared Sea Scallops with squid ink spaghetti OR Alaskan King Salmon with sweet corn purée and sautéed asparagus
Mississippi Mud Pie

Pairing suggestions:
Treveri Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine from Washington (bottle)
Seven Hills Sauvignon Blanc Walla Walla, WA 2019 (bottle)
Ray’s Barrel-Aged Negroni Cocktail (serves 2)

Ray’s ShellFeast (serves 2-3) $105
Bowl of Ray’s New England Style Clam Chowder
Prawn Cocktail
Mediterranean Mussels with Thai style red curry, coconut milk broth
1lb King Crab with butter and lemon
Grilled Asparagus
Grilled Corn on the Cob
2 rolls with Butter

Pairing Suggestions:
Bollinger Champagne (bottle)
Treveri Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine from Washington (bottle)
Ray’s Private Select Woodford Reserve Perfect Manhattan (serves 2)

A Note About Masks at Ray’s

Dear guests,

Per Washington State law, Ray’s Boathouse, Café and Catering will be requiring that masks be worn by all guests, vendors, and tradespeople who enter our buildings starting today, June 26, 2020. We require that you wear your mask when entering the restaurants and offices, when walking around the restaurant and offices, and while seated at the table when your server is taking your order.

Thank you for helping to keep everyone safe. We look forward to serving you!

Ray’s Launches Meal Kits To-Go!

Ray’s is excited to announce that we will be launching boxed meal kits to-go starting today! Thank you for your patience and support while we have been closed, we are thrilled to open up our kitchen once again for you and your family to enjoy Ray’s at home!

View our boxed meal menu online here to start ordering! We’re featuring your favorite Ray’s menu items like Wild NW King Salmon, NW Sablefish in Sake Kasu, Clam Chowder, Alaskan King Crab Legs, and more. Plus vegetarian options, desserts, beer, wine and cocktail kits. Items are noted if they require reheating and cooking at home and will include detailed instructions.

How to Order:

  • Ordering is now live for the first orders which will be picked up on Wednesday, June 10 at Ray’s Northwest Room.
  • Meals are available for online ordering ONLY and all orders must be placed at least 24-hours in advance! 
  • Orders are accepted 24 hours a day 7 days a week online.
  • Pick up is available Wednesday-Saturday 3-8pm at Ray’s.
  • Orders will be handed to you at the entrance of our Northwest Room, the blue building to the right of the Boathouse restaurant. Please park and walk up.
  • We unfortunately cannot accept walk up orders, only orders placed online through the Toast website.
  • Any gratuities from the boxed meal kit program will be donated to Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (see below for more details).

In addition to our culinary offerings, we’ve opened up our award-winning wine cellar and are featuring some rare gems at a discounted price! We’re offering our Chardonnay and Red Blend made exclusively for Ray’s by L’Ecole No 41 winery as well as some library vintages and 100 point wines from the likes of Quilceda Creek, Leonetti, Betz Family Winery, Beaux Freres, Bollinger, Jean-Philippe Fichet and more.

Note – Menus subject to change without notice. Ray’s Loyalty Program does not apply for any Items purchased through Toast and Ray’s gift cards cannot be used for Toast payment. 

Reflecting on Service & Hospitality

Friends & Ray’s Teammates past and present,

It is not lost on anyone in our neighborhood or staff that we have had above average amazing deck weather in April. Combine that with our repositioned lunch program and our new Café happy hour we would have been incredibly busy serving families anxious to break from the winter blues and soak up some goodness at Ray’s. Instead our ‘home away from home’ has been quiet.  Although there is much to do for a few of us here, the empty hallways, kitchens, dining rooms, flight paths, and boat traffic lanes make for a quiet workplace. The din of the crew and our guests is gone for now and that has revealed a new atmosphere. The noise of seagulls, water lapping against the pilings, the laughter of children learning to ride their bikes in our parking lot, and the rain drops on the metal roof, is now clearly audible. Additionally there is an abundance of wildlife out and about as we humans stay out of the way for a while.

When I first started here almost 7 years ago my first quest was to understand Ray’s. Seek first to understand. Part of what I did was to come in early and sit in various chairs in various parts of the venues and soak up the environment. Why was this table more popular that that one? Can you hear the kitchen from here?  Is this to close to the adjacent table? What’s the view from this chair look like?  Recently I found myself doing the same thing. Sitting in an empty dining room looking for clarity. Seeking again to understand. But this time it is to understand where we are now and what is next.

I also needed some inspiration for this newsletter which I started to pen in my head a few days ago. Then late on Friday night April 24 my wife shared with me an article posted in the New York Times Magazine written by the venerable restaurateur Gabrielle Hamilton of the famed Prune in New York City. I started to read it and was immediately captivated. Then as I progressed through the article every emotion I have had about Ray’s since March 15, 2020, and this crisis, became clear to me. When I finished I collected my composure. Then I read it again. And began sending it to my colleagues and teammates as a way to show them we are not alone. If you are in the restaurant business you will most likely have lived some, or all, of the things she speaks to. If you are not I hope it provides a glimpse into the life of what it feels like to be in the restaurant industry right now and how/why there is so much solidarity among us.

Certain industry books or articles serve as milestones for me. Reminders of what we restaurant leaders are doing for each other, and to what end. The prose penned by Gabrielle is that defining piece for me amid this crisis. I can’t thank her enough for the way she put the emotions I am seeking to understand into words.  I hope she reads this newsletter and understands that we are here together 3000 miles apart.

Knowing we all may have some down time on our hands I have listed the four books that have defined stages of my short 40+ year career. I hope you may read/listen to them and share some of the pride that we do as industry teammates.

Flash in the Pan: Life and Death of an American Restaurant by David Blum (1992). I devoured this as a 23-year-old kitchen manager and thought:  Is this how the restaurant business really is?

Eight years later Anthony Bourdain peels back the onion with Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000). This book gave credibility and inspiration to line cooks across the globe. I cherish my first edition hardcover.  I also share with you as a separate piece Mr. Bourdain’s article “On Reacting To Bad News” 2017 as it provides his reflection on Kitchen Confidential. It’s important to understand and appreciate how his perspective changed.

Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business (2006).  I not only read this cover to cover a multitude of times but have gifted it to friends and colleagues over and over. In my opinion Mr. Meyer takes the famous Maya Angelou quote “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” and defines a generation of hospitality leaders with his take on that.

Kevin Alexander’s Burn the Ice: The American Culinary Revolution and Its End (2019). Much of this takes place in the mid 2000’s Portland Oregon restaurants scene so it really strikes home to us here in the NW.  A solid glimpse into one of our local chef icons, Gabriel Rucker and Naomi Pomeroy, among other things, and among other restaurant heroes around the globe.

The restaurant crews I cut my teeth with back in Pennsylvania as a young kid and then here in Seattle as a young adult, the contacts I made, and the people in the various circles that intersect all have service in common. Service to guests and service to each other. This crisis will define our generation of industry people.  We are the authors of the new normal when it comes to safe and responsible hospitality.  It is in our DNA to deliver that service. We will not let you down.

With gratitude,

Douglas Zellers, GM and co-owner