Fish & Chips (mostly) tour on the Oregon Coast
For the Memorial Day weekend, I went with 9 other friends up and down the Oregon Coast, from Cannon Beach down to Florence. Being the trip coordinator, I certainly loaded the itinerary with CH-approved stops.
Portland - We stopped by Ohana Hawaiian Cafe on Sandy and 63rd. My cousins own this place, so I will recuse myself from reviewing it in full. But I'll always have a soft heart for their spam sushi. Their mix plates ($14-$16) are large enough to feed 2 people. Good, fresh ingredients, but I felt the glaze was a tiny bit overbearing on my slim, girlish figure.
Lincoln City - We tried to eat at the Blackfish Cafe, but they were booked 2 weeks out. So we settled for Kyllo's. It's right on the water with a spectacular view. I've eaten there in the past, and have found their food to be merely satisfactory and not mindblowing. Even when ordering "easy" fare which basically involves putting grilled fish filets on top of potatoes, the fish would be a bit overcooked and tough. I had the halibut with lemon butter, and it felt a bit too heavily seasoned overall. They couldn't accommodate the 10 of us, so we split up into 2 tables (4 + 6) with 2 separate waiters. However, that didn't stop them from levying their 18% gratuity on us since we "checked in" with 10 people. The waiter was more than rude when we tried to reasonably bring up the subject. Won't be back again.
Newport - After hitting the aquarium, we went to the nearby South Beach Fish Market. The oyster shooters with horseradish ($1 each) were great. I had some steamed clams and shared a halibut/salmon f&c basket. The fish was tender and the clams were seasoned just right. They also cooked lobsters right out front. Too much food, too tiny stomach...
Florence - We were planning on going to the Waterfront Depot Restaurant, but my brother had a bad experience there so he convinced us not to go. He said the food is good, but the kitchen is only staffed by 2 people, and the food will always arrive a bit colder than it should be.
Seal Rock - So instead of eating in Florence, we went to Yuzen. I love the large wooden cardboard-cutout of the sushi chef out front (which was kind of creepy and looked like Mr. Yoshida). The food was outstanding (I didn't ask the chef how they could stay in business situated where they were) I ordered a agedashi tofu and karaage chicken as appetizers. I didn't like the tofu too much, but the chicken was seasoned just right and the breading was thin and crisp. Then the missus had the unagi don and I had a chirashi. The ingredients were phenomenal considering where we were eating (which is in the middle of nowhere). However, I felt the fish was cut a bit too thin. Don't get me wrong - the portions are very generous, but the thin slices just didn't have the same bite to it as it should have. Omakase was also an option, but not when I was dining with 8 other non-hounds. Will definitely revisit if going down that way again (and when gas prices come down a bit). Although they did seem to have limited selection on some of their fish (they had ankimo at the time, but didn't have toro which was what I was hoping to get at the time).
Cannon Beach - We stopped at the Ecola Seafood Market. It started raining, so we decided to camp out there and snack for a while. Tried steamed clams here. It was pretty bland. But their halibut was just great. I had it in a fish taco, as well as stealing some from the missus's fish and chips basket. The fish tasted even fresher than the South Beach Fish Market in Newport. Some friends had oysters and they were also very good.
Too tired and full to try Xinh's on the way back up to Seattle. Bummer.
Nice report, HWL. Fear not, Xinh's is worthy as a destination of its own. I personally like to make it part of a day tour of Hood Canal: Edmonds ferry to Kingston, late breakfast at the Timber House in Quilcene, stop at various scenic spots along the Canal, dinner at Xinh's (the restaurant opens at 5:00). Dang, I wish I would have thought to do that over the weekend . . .
Thanks for the detailed report. We also love Yuzen and South Beach (my folks live within walking distance of Yuzen-dangerous! And I'll tell you, that place is often jammed and never slow-they don't seem to have any problem staying in business). i'm sorry you missed Waterfront Depot in Florence-it's usually very good and I've always found the service fabulous.