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

Ray’s Black Lentil Soup & Pasta Fagiole Recipe

Executive Chef Paul Duncan shares an easy two-in-one recipe to make any night of the week. Then enjoy it a different way the next night!

Black Lentil Soup & Pasta Fagiole Recipe
(makes 4 portions of soup and 4 portions of pasta fagiole)

*Note: this recipe makes 8 portions of lentil soup total – soup gets divided in half so 4 portions are served as soup and 4 portions are reserved to make sauce for pasta fagiole.

Ingredients for Black Lentil Soup

  • 1 pound dried black lentils (soaked in room temperature water for 1.5 hours)
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion (small dice)
  • 1 medium red onion (small dice)
  • 4 medium carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 5 ribs of celery (small dice)
  • 1 fennel bulb (core removed and discarded, remaining bulb diced)
  • 10 cloves garlic (peeled and minced)
  • 1 Serrano pepper (small dice, seeds removed and discarded)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 Tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes (may substitute fresh tomatoes – if so, score and blanch 5 large tomatoes to remove skin, rough chop skinned tomatoes)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock or water)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (stems removed, washed and chopped)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (we prefer full fat, make sure it is unsweetened)

Ingredients for Pasta Fagiole

  • 1 14 oz. can cannellini beans (drained)
  • 1 lb. dry spaghetti or linguine noodles (can substitute any pasta shape of choice)
  • 1 bunch black kale (rinsed, de-stemmed and chopped)
  • 2 cups chicken stock, if necessary (can substitute vegetable stock or water)
  • 1/4 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (stems removed, washed and chopped)

To make soup:

  1. Once lentils have soaked, drain and rinse thoroughly
  2. In a heavy bottom soup pot (we use a 5 1/2 qt. Le Creuset dutch oven) heat olive oil over medium-high heat
  3. Add white onion, red onion, carrots, celery, fennel and garlic to heated oil and sauté for 5 minutes
  4. Add Serrano pepper, cayenne, oregano, basil, cumin and a nice pinch of Kosher salt and until aromatic (about 2-3 minutes)
  5. Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes and chicken stock and stir together thoroughly
  6. Bring mixture to just below a simmer and add drained lentils and stir to combine
  7. Bring soup to a brief boil and turn to a low heat so soup is barely simmering
  8. Cook uncovered for 1-1.5 hours until soup thickens slightly and lentils are fully cooked but still intact
  9. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper
  10. To serve, portion half of the lentil soup into 4 bowls and top each portion with chopped fresh cilantro and plain Greek yogurt
  11. Chill remaining half of lentil soup to be used for pasta fagiole (see below)

To make pasta fagiole with leftover soup:

  1. Combine leftover lentil soup and cannellini beans in heavy bottom soup pot and reheat
  2. In a separate pot, bring 3 qt. water to a boil and season generously with Kosher salt
  3. Add dry pasta to boiling salted water and cook until done according to directions on package
  4. While pasta is cooking, add rinsed, chopped black kale to reheating soup
  5. Once kale has begun to wilt, add butter to soup
  6. Add chicken stock, if needed, to thin the soup to a sauce consistency
  7. Drain pasta and add directly to pot with lentil/bean/kale sauce
  8. Remove pasta from heat, fold in parmesan cheese and stir thoroughly to combine
  9. Season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper
  10. To serve, divide pasta equally into 4 bowls and garnish each portion with fresh chopped parsley and more parmesan cheese

Update From Ray’s

Dear Loyal Guests,

Ray’s Boathouse, Café & Catering has temporarily suspended service as of close of business March 15  in compliance with Gov. Inslee’s restaurant shutdown announcement. We will be closed entirely during this time and we look forward to serving you as soon as we are given permission to open.

Please stay safe and healthy!

#WeGotThisSeattle,
Douglas Zellers, Ray’s GM & Co-owner

Easter Brunch & Dinner April 12 at Ray’s Boathouse & Cafe!

Spring is in the air at Seattle’s best seafood restaurant! Gather your friends and family for a beautiful, waterfront Easter brunch or dinner on Sunday, April 12, 2020 in the Boathouse and Café.

Reservations are highly recommended and available for groups up to 8 guests (including children and highchairs). Reserve in the Café or the Boathouse today!

Café
Brunch Buffet
Enjoy our Grand Holiday Brunch Buffet from 9am-2pm (last seating) featuring a Carving Station with House Smoked Wild SalmonRaw Bar with oysters on the half shell, breakfast dishes, appetizers, salads, sides, desserts and much more! $65 per guest for brunch, juice and sodas, and $32.50 for children 5-11 (prices exclude tax and gratuity). View menu details below; menu subject to change without notice.

Dinner
We will open for dinner at 4pm serving our regular menu until 7pm.

Bar
The Cafe Bar will have the same menu offerings and hours as above for brunch and dinner but is on a first come basis with no reservations taken.

Upstairs Cafe Brunch Buffet Menu

Menu subject to change without notice

Salads
Spring Panzanella salad
Spring mixed green salad
Chicory Salad, Pecans, apple Manchego, sherry vinaigrette
Classic chopped Caesar salad
Soba noodle salad, sesame, sweet soy, ginger, peppers, edamame
Antipasto assorted meats and pickled vegetables
Caprese salad
Roasted Beets with French Feta, Hazelnuts, arugula and sherry vinaigrette
Assorted fresh fruits and berries

Raw Bar
Chilled peel & eat prawns
Oysters on the half shell
Dungeness Crab Leg

Breakfast
Eggs benedict
Scrambled eggs
Brioche french toast
Uli’s breakfast sausage
Carlton Farms Bacon
Pan seared true cod, broccolini and lemon caper beurre blanc
Sautéed garlic prawns
Grilled herbed chicken breast, green bean and cherry tomatoes
Crispy breakfast potatoes, old bay, scallion
Penn Cove manila clams & mussels
Three cheese mac n’ cheese
Bay shrimp mac n’ cheese
Green Beans with walnuts and lemon
Washington spring asparagus
Whipped Washington russet potatoes
Roasted cremini mushrooms

Carving Board
Roasted RR Ranch prime rib of beef
House smoked wild Alaskan Salmon

Dessert Table
Assorted house made desserts and pastries

Boathouse
Brunch
We are serving some of our best-selling appetizers, salads and Boathouse entrées along with a $35 holiday-inspired, 3-course brunch menu (beverages, tax and gratuity not included), from 10:30am-3pm.

Dinner
Spring-inspired 3-course menu with choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert for $65, alongside the Boathouse’s full dinner menu from 3-7pm.

Bar
The Boathouse Bar will have the same menu offerings and hours as above for brunch and dinner but is on a first come basis with no reservations taken.

Boathouse Easter Brunch

Menu subject to change without notice

Appetizers
choice of one
Ceviche fresh halibut, jalapeno, citrus marinade, cilantro
Dungeness Crab Salad pickled cucumber, micro greens, lemon aioli
Washington Asparagus prosciutto, hazelnuts, chili
White Bean-Truffle Parmesan, crouton, Fresh herbs

Entrees
choice of one
Frittata spring vegetables, basil, eggs, feta, mixed greens with lemon vinaigrette
Brioche French Toast house smoked bacon, fried red potatoes, maple syrup
Espresso Braised Beef espresso braised bottom round, tomato, ramp, chard, fried polenta, pecorino Romano
Pan Seared Halibut fregola Sarda, wild mushroom, English peas, beurre blanc

Dessert
presented at dinner

Boathouse Easter Dinner

Menu subject to change without notice

Appetizers
choice of one
Ceviche fresh halibut, jalapeno, citrus marinade, cilantro
Dungeness Crab Salad pickled cucumber, micro greens, lemon aioli
Washington Asparagus prosciutto, hazelnuts, chili
White Bean-Truffle Parmesan, crouton, Fresh herbs

Entrees
choice of one
Applewood Grilled King Salmon white bean bruschetta, glazed baby carrots
Espresso braised Beef braised bottom round, tomato, ramp, chard, fried polenta, pecorino Romano
Pan Seared Halibut fregola sarda, wild mushroom, English peas, beurre blanc

Dessert
presented at dinner

Pop the Question at Ray’s on Feb. 14!

Getting engaged on Valentine’s Day? Pop the question at Ray’s Boathouse or Cafe and enjoy a special rate when you book your wedding at Ray’s Northwest Room in 2020!

Any guests who become engaged at Ray’s Boathouse or Cafe on Friday, February 14, 2020 will receive 1/2 off their room rental fee at Ray’s Northwest Room when they book their wedding in 2020 (restrictions apply)!

To qualify you must inform Ray’s in your reservation that you will be proposing that day. Ray’s Catering will contact you after to help book your wedding day!

Engagement Promotion Rules:

    • Applies to new wedding inquires and bookings only.
    • Valid for weddings that take place on any open date at Ray’s Northwest Room from February 15, 2020 to March 31, 2021.
    • Wedding must be booked by April 30, 2020 to qualify for offer.
    • Wedding deposit must be paid by April 30, 2020 to qualify for offer.
    • Valid for weddings only, does not apply to rehearsal dinners, showers or other wedding-related events at Ray’s.
    • Engagements are valid in both the Boathouse and Café.
    • You must have a reservation at Ray’s Boathouse or Ray’s Cafe and inform Ray’s staff in advance to qualify.
    • The wedding date you request with this offer is subject to availability.

 

Photo by Kaitlyn Montanaro Photography