Seemingly based upon Lewis Carroll’s poem, the Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard calls itself an oyster bar. Amidst light blue and white walls, stainless steel and a brightly-lit open, bustling space, it’s easy to feel gluttonous like our fictional friends (in a very good way). Oysters sit nestled amongst ice in large metal, wire baskets in the center of the space, bordering the chefs and heart of the restaurant. The tables are marble, the chairs are painted steel, and the feeling is European and comfortable. The Walrus and the Carpenter opened only a few weeks ago and we found ourselves waiting almost two hours for a table (although we were a party of six). One of the walls is paned glass, and looks into Ethan Stowell’s newest endeavor, Staple & Fancy Mercantile, which we hope to try soon. The Walrus and the Carpenter is a wonderful spot to go with one or two others, as the space is somewhat minimal (although there is an outdoor heated space, it is not at the moment roofed, which could help given our temperamental skies). We asked for a variety of oysters, and received a couple of every kind. The South Sound Kumomono (Oakland Bay, Wa) were our favorite. They are served on ice with a champagne mignonette , fresh shaved horseradish and lemon, of course.
We ordered a few small dishes as well, one of which was the beefsteak tomatoes with vanilla sea salt (made in-house) and olive oil. The acidity of the tomatoes and the vanilla is such a pleasing combination , and the overall flavor is very refreshing. The color of the tomatoes are bright red and beautiful, and when all has been consumed, vanilla bean specks are seen floating in the olive oil. This will be a favorite spot of ours from here on out and we will frequent it often. Congratulations and thanks to Renee, Jeremy and Chad for opening a space so lovely and sharing the passion.