Less flake, more flavour. Little silver fish—anchovies, smelt, sardines—and oilier fish, such as mackerel and herring, are all over gourmet menus in trendsetting Seattle these days.
It’s a groundswell, with chefs seeking sustainable seafood. At West Seattle’s Mashiko (sushiwhore.com), the entire menu is built on sustainably sourced seafood, but the saba (mackerel) is a standout: It is grilled until the fats caramelize, then given a squeeze of fresh lemon and a shower of dill.
At Blueacre Seafood (blueacreseafood.com) downtown, the herring is pickled in-house and served with toasted seed bread, pickled onions and horseradish-spiked sour cream. Sardines top thickly cut toast at The Whale Wins (thewhalewins.com), their flavour balanced with curried tomato paste and shaved fennel.
West Seattle’s Westcity Sardine Kitchen (Facebook, “Westcity Sardine Kitchen”) offers a triple hit of the fishy fish: pappardelle with sardine puttanesca, grilled sardines with chili-caper sauce and fresh baguette with—what else?—whipped sardine butter.