We put my sister and her husband up here about 15 years ago, the rooms were charming and they accommodated a kosher breakfast for my brother-in-law. The charms of the rooms were accentuated by a nice view of Saratoga Passage with the potential for whales swimming by. We had not been there since.
A good friend where we live now on Camano Island spoke very highly of the restaurant, so my wife and I decided to give it a try on a Friday evening with a potential for a view of the sunset over Saratoga Passage. I called, but was diverted to an answering device that invited me to leave a message with a call back number and they would return the call - I did, with a message of time and number of diners. No return call came. We decided to go anyway hoping to not miss the sunset.
When we arrived, the hostess claimed that no messages had been received, but they could seat us anyway - there was no one seated in the dining area which has a very nice river rock fireplace and a 6-foot wide sliding glass door to a deck with access to a view of the Passage that you can see if you look carefully at the banner picture on their web homepage. We were seated in the corner by the fireplace as the "window" seating was reserved - it did not matter much as there was a very limited view outside anyway.
The menu looked very inviting, including one of our favorite appetizers, crab cakes ($14), which we ordered with a glass of Pinot Grigio ($8) for my wife and an IPA ($4/bottle) for me, both of which were quite tasty. The crab cakes came - three (we only expected two) in a very nice presentation. Service was relatively quick. They were so highly spiced that the delicate flavor of crab was entirely masked - my wife could not finish hers. Later, during my entree, the spice gave me hiccups and GERDS to the point I had to pause my dining (during which my food got cold) until it passed.
The hostess came by to acknowledge our message had been found - that was nice of her.
Then, we ordered soup and entrees. They have signature seafood chowder ($8) that turned out to be excellent. My wife started to order the Chicken Tikka Masala ($20), but the server cautioned that the dish was highly spiced in an East Indian manner consistent with the owners’ cuisine preferences. She chose the Salmon ($27) and I the Coquilles St. Jacques ($26), both of which were excellent, but came with spicy vegetables and a rice pilaf laced with tarragon. Dessert was a chocolate layer cake (ladies must have their chocolate) in a nice presentation, but was very ordinary in taste.
While we were dining, the room filled with guests, mostly couples, who all seemed to have a good time and enjoyed the noticeably quiet atmosphere. Absent the impressive fireplace, the dining room atmosphere is cool and sterile with nice, small paintings on the walls. The large wooden bar in the foyer seemed to attract no one while we were there. Our VISA was readily accepted for the $140 bill, including tip (20%) - a tad "spendy" as they say locally.
All in all, with due respect to our good friend, it is not a diner place that we are likely to return to as the cuisine did not "leave [my] palette dancing" as advertised only burned out and exhausted. They are alleged to have a nice brunch - we will save that to another day, perhaps in the warmth of summer when outdoor dining may be an option to give us access to the lovely views.and excitement of passing whales.
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