Dining out on fresh, succulent seafood doesn’t have to be expensive or only possible at upscale eateries.
High atop Queen Anne, former Uwajimaya Vice President Paul Saito proves otherwise, in his year-old cafe, the Five Hooks Fish Grill. This place is a real neighborhood find. Family friendly and nothing fancy, it’s perched above the street with big windows to catch Olympic vista sunsets. Numerous restaurants have lived here — in the space across the street from Eat Local, at the top of Queen Anne — but let’s hope the Five Hooks is a keeper.
Saito is a stickler for freshness, whether it be the fish and shellfish he prepares fried, grilled, in wraps or with pasta, or in the frequent refreshing of frying oil. And the menu boasts deft Asian accents: a few soy-based sauces and dressings, a crispy tempura lightness to the fried items, and sides of seaweed salad and brown rice served with some entrees.
How he keeps prices down — and offers all-you-can eat fish and chips on Friday nights and $19.99 three-course dinner specials — is a happy mystery and a great value.
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What to write home about: The melt-in-your-mouth, ungreasy fried cod and chips, with a side of tangy, mayo-less coleslaw (all-you-can-eat for $9.99 on Fridays, $1 more other times). Also memorable: a generous half-salad with still-juicy crispy prawns, baby greens and a sesame vinaigrette ($6.99); the modest-sized but perfectly charbroiled salmon entree ($13.99); and the creamy, peppery clam chowder ($3.99/cup) with tender strips of clam and flecks of salmon.
The setting: Old-school, ungentrified diner, though bright and comfy. Outdoor patio for warm weather.
Summing up: A cup of clam chowder, a small seafood salad, a charbroiled salmon entree and all-you-can-eat fish and chips came to $34.96 before tax and tip, and would serve two adults very well.
Misha Berson: firstname.lastname@example.org