We don’t usually go to chain restaurants (although I’m well acquainted with the appeal of an Egg McMuffin), but a friend gave us a coupon to Anthony’s that needed to be used during March. I’d only been to an Anthony’s restaurant once, in Richland, and wasn’t thrilled by the experience, but we figured they’d at least have oysters and booze, and if we didn’t like it we could have dinner elsewhere. Much to our surprise, we had a great time.
Anthony’s restaurants are always built on the waterfront. Bellingham has the closest franchise to us, on the marina just north of downtown. We went on a Tuesday night just before sunset, and the place was packed (hello, economic downturn?) Fortunately, we had no trouble getting a decent table. The view wasn’t so much of water as it was of boat masts, but I sure don’t have a problem with that – I like boats.
We started out with the oyster sampler and a bottle of Chinook sauvignon blanc (a lovely crisp wine made by nice people with cute dogs – you needed to know that, right?). The platter came heaped with ice, an Asian-flavor vinaigrette, cocktail sauce, lemons, and an oyster each of Kumomoto, Otter Cove, Chelsea Gem, Virginica, Olympia and two Barron Points. All were perfectly fresh with a wonderful crispness. The shucking was decent, although we did end up eating a few odd bits of shell. We followed up the sampler with another platter of just the Otter Coves, which were simultaneously cheap and fantastic – they had the same cool melon finish as the Kumomotos, and were lovely with a small squeeze of lemon.
After polishing off the oysters and a basket of warm sourdough bread, we settled for splitting an entree of Alaskan rockfish. It was perfectly done, drenched in beurre blanc, and served with very nicely cooked broccoli (also drenched in butter) and some pleasant rice pilaf with sultanas and almonds. Salads were edible, as well: a Caesar salad (bereft of anchovies, alas) and a spinach salad with bacon and a creamy dill dressing. I took pictures, but they didn’t come out so good – forgot to set the macro button. So you’ll have to settle for another shot of the marina, which looked extremely charming as the sun went down and the waitstaff pulled up the blinds.
Over all, it was a very nice evening. The food was treated well, the wine list had some good local choices and the prices were fair, and our waitress was very good-natured about our deliberately slow ordering. Not so bad. We might even go back sometime!