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

Enjoy Shellfest at Ray’s January 7-24!

Our annual shellfish celebration returns Tuesday, January 7 for lunch and dinner with a special menu available for only three weeks in the Boathouse while our Café undergoes renovations. Executive Chef Paul Duncan has created a mouthwatering menu with Dungeness Crab, Shrimp, Scallops and more!

Reserve today for lunch or dinner and don’t miss this limited time menu before it ends on Friday, January 24!

Sautéed Day Boat Garlic Prawns  – $16
White wine, garlic, butter, fresh herbs

Popcorn Shrimp – $16
Crispy Rock Shrimp and popcorn, Louis dressing

Dungeness Crab Clusters  – $25
Emulsified butter sauce

Pan-Fried Oysters – $18
Wakame salad, garlic aioli

NW Bouillabaisse  – $26
Alaskan King Crab, clams, mussels, grilled baguette, rouille

Chilled Peel & Eat Shrimp – $14
Spice poached, cocktail sauce

Sea Scallop Carbonara – $18
House smoked bacon, egg yolk, cream, linguini

Alaskan King Crab Knuckles – $32
Half pound, chimichurri, fried garlic

Shellfest Returns to the Cafe Jan. 8-27!

Ray’s Café is kicking off the New Year with Shellfest this January 8-27!

Each winter our local icy waters deliver the freshest crab, clams and oysters available and Ray’s Executive Chef Paul Duncan has created an exciting, limited menu to celebrate this winter bounty. The new shellfish dishes are only available during Shellfest at our upstairs Cafe from January 8-27, and are offered in addition to our regular Café menu.

Reservations are available daily from 11:30am-9pm and are strongly encouraged during Shellfest. Guests can reserve at rays.com/cafe or at 206.789.3770.

Shellfest Menu

Dungeness Crab Bruschetta – garlic aioli, pickled shallot, Dungeness crab meat, avocado. $17

Bourbon-Garlic Prawns – blackened prawns, bourbon, sautéed garlic, grilled bread. $16

Oysters on the Half Shell – mignonette, lemon. $20

Scampi Fettuccini Alfredo – prawns, garlic, white wine, cream, herbs. $26

Pan Seared Pacific Oysters – lightly breaded, garlic aioli, chorizo vinaigrette, dirty rice. $18

Prawn Cocktail – poached and chilled prawns, cucumber, avocado, traditional sauce. $18

Popcorn Shrimp breaded, fried, Louis dressing. $16

Mussels Wilson  Uli’s chorizo, sherry, garlic, butter. $14

* Menu subject to change without notice.

Shellfest Returns to Ray’s Café Jan. 17-31!

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Shellfest is back this winter at Ray’s Café from Wednesday, January 17 through Wednesday, January 31!

Our Executive Chef Paul Duncan has created a delicious, limited-time Shellfest menu featuring an array of fresh, local shellfish including oysters, snow crab, clams, shrimp and more in our upstairs Café.

Enjoy them while they last and try them all from January 17-31! Make your reservations for the Café at 206.782.0094 or online today.

Café Shellfest Menu

  • Popcorn Shrimp breaded and fried, served with tartar and cocktail sauce ($12)
  • Oysters on the Half Shell served with lemon and cocktail sauce (Market Price)
  • Full Pound of Steamed Clams with house smoked bacon, white wine, oregano and butter ($16)
  • Blackened Shrimp sautéed in butter, onions and bourbon, served with garlic bread ($16)
  • Mussels in Marinara simmered in spiced tomato broth, linguini and fresh basil ($23)
  • Peel & Eat Shrimp poached and served chilled with lemon and cocktail sauce ($9)
  • Snow Crab & Frites poached legs, seasoned shoestring fries, served with tartar sauce and butter ($21)
  • Smoked Scallop Carbonara house smoked scallops, bacon, cream, roasted pepper, squid ink spaghetti ($23)

Featured: Olympia Oysters and Schramsberg sparkling wine, extended through Valentine’s day!

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Feb 10-14 while they last, savor your chance to taste a rare Northwest treasure: the Olympia oyster!

The Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida) is one of the rarest, most treasured of our Pacific Northwest native species. James Beard, champion of American cuisine, called the petite Olympia “the most distinguished of the oysters” for its distinctive sweet taste and coppery finish.

Ray’s, in conjunction with Seattle oyster enthusiast and historian Jon Rowley, first introduced this treasured oyster to the restaurant world in 1983.

“Up to that point,” Rowley recalled, “Olympias had only been available in jars, if you could find them at all. Then Clam Cove Oyster Company brought us some live ones. I sent out a letter to the people who worked in the food press, and we served nothing else that night — just Olympia oysters and Schramsberg sparkling wine. It was one of the best parties I’ve ever been to.”

After two near-brushes with extinction (first from over-harvesting in the gold rush era, then in the 1920s and 30s threatened by pulp mill pollution), the Olympia oyster, which takes five years to reach maturity, is available in limited supply thanks to careful cultivation and sustainable harvesting!

Take advantage of a six-pack of shucked Olympia oysters from Taylor Shellfish with a glass of Schramsberg sparkling wine for $29. Make it a memorable Valentine’s weekend, or just try it because it’s not something you’ll find here every day! See you soon!

Shellfest Returns to Ray’s, Jan 9-22!

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It’s almost time to Shell-ebrate with Shellfest returning to Ray’s Boathouse and Cafe, January 9 – 22! Chilly winter waters are perfect for harvesting pristine shellfish and you’re to partake at Ray’s in the form of specially prepared shrimp, crab, oyster dishes and much more. Prices start at just $6.

Sample Offerings (each sold separately; selections and menu items may change as we try new and exciting recipes):

-Full Pound Steamed Manila Clams with pork belly, vermouth, butter, chives
-Penn Cove Mussels Marinara with fresh basil, and angel hair pasta
-Sautéed Blackened Shrimp with onion, bourbon, butter, garlic bread
-Crispy Fried Rock Shrimp Tacos with pico de gallo, chipotle-sour cream, shredded romaine lettuce, tortilla chips, salsa
-Chilled Peel & Eat Prawns with lemon-spice poached, Louis dressing
-Half Pound Popcorn Shrimp, lightly breaded, fried golden brown, served with tartar sauce, cocktail sauce
-Dungeness Crab Bisque with sweet corn, creamy veloute
-Pan-fried, panko crusted Washington Razor Clams with saffron-shallot jam and jalapeno tartar
-Baked Half Shell Oysters, a half-dozen with Uli’s Andouille sausage, leeks, and smoked paprika-butter
-Steamed Half Pound Snow Crab Legs with drawn butter and fried potatoes
-Prawn Cocktail with classic cocktail sauce and lemon

We also offer delicious wine and cocktail suggestions for each dish. Boathouse reservations can be made at 206.789.3770 or here. Cafe reservations can be made at 206.782.0094 or here. We’ll see you soon!