"}
Food

Rock and Rye

I seafood, I eat it

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I’m in big trouble.

The problem is that what’s shaping up to be my new favorite seafood restaurant is located directly below my office—five stories below my office, to be exact. I may never go home again.

Since I first heard the rumor that Bayou on Bay’s Oyster Bar was closing and owner Steve Crosier was transforming it into the Rock and Rye Oyster House at a new space in the Herald Building—where the Weekly headquarters are also conveniently located—I’ve been waiting with anticipation for instant access to fresh seafood.

Over the course of the past few months, I’ve seen Rock and Rye transform from a long, barren, brick-lined space into a spare, lovely restaurant with skylights, a sizable bar, a patio with a view of Bellingham Bay and loads of charisma.

But I digress. I’m here to talk about the food.

I was lucky enough to get an invite to one of the eatery’s “sneak peeks” in mid-June, and what I found did not disappoint. The menu that night included sampling plates of grilled oysters, champagne-poached salmon, elk sliders, jicama salad, and house pork belly. In what was not a big surprise, everyone at our table opted for one of everything.

The jicama salad came first. Although it was fresh and lovely, with jicama, yellow bell pepper, arugula, crushed pepper, lime juice and cilantro commingling like attractive friends, it lacked a certain something—a zest none of us could name.

That would not be the case for any of the other menu items. The grilled oysters—fresh Samish Bay Pacific specimens simply prepared with butter and garlic—were deemed to be the “yummiest ever” and “a rarefied version of what I’ve had before.” The salmon with asparagus, minted risotto and coriander aioli practically melted in my maw.

Through some sort of mixup, we also ended up with twice as many elk sliders as we’d ordered. Apparently that wasn’t a problem, as we cleared every plate of the spicy snacks that were put in front of us. We almost missed out on the pork belly, but thankfully our kick-ass waitress, Maggie, had put the order in before they ran out of it, and we all ended up with small-but-statuesque portions of the house-cured meat.

To make sure I consumed some of “rye” in the restaurant’s moniker, I ordered a house whiskey (made with George Dickel rye) with ginger ale ($5). My friends opted for specialty cocktails, including Across the Pond (London Dry Gin, cocci americano, dolin blanc) and the Art of Zen (lemongrass-infused vodka, green tea, lemon and ginger beer). Both were $8, and both were seasonally refreshing in a way that makes you forget you’re consuming alcohol. My drink was also smooth and satisfying.

After they’d opened the following week, my fella and I came back during Happy Hour (3-6pm) with his folks, who were visiting from Minnesota. Once again, Maggie greeted us with a smile.

With my aforementioned penchant for seafood, I chose the entree with as many creatures from the briny deep as I could find. The Cioppino ($18) included mussels, halibut, octopus, crab, scallop, prawn, spiced tomato fumet and herbs. The parental units opted for mustard ginger halibut and chips for him ($16), and a happy hour halibut taco for her ($5). My guy went for the confit duck and cassoulet ($19).

Since I hadn’t consumed anything raw on opening night, we also ordered a round of happy hour pacific oysters ($10 for 6). The Minnesota residents couldn’t bring themselves to consume them, so my guy and I each got three. With a squeeze of lemon juice atop them, they were summertime perfection.

Although they didn’t eat the oysters, the visitors did enjoy their halibut selections, with comments including “top of the line” and “above-average.” The only note that wasn’t effusive was for the fries, which were deemed to be merely “fair.” On the other hand, each mouthful of my Cioppino was masterful, and memorable. 

I’ve heard rumors Rock and Rye will be opening for lunch in July, and their Facebook page indicates they’ll eventually also open for brunch on the weekends. Once that happens, I’ll have additional opportunities to sample more of the menu—crab cakes, grilled sardines, and pork belly carbonara, I’m coming for you.

SVCR Don McLean
More Food...
Naan & Brew
Sampling the flavors of India

On a recent Saturday afternoon, my significant other was still in his bathrobe, curled up on the bed with a cat in one hand and a book in the other. From his prone position, he mused about the voracious hunger that had suddenly overtaken him.

But directly after I hung up the phone with…

more »
Where's the Beef?
A stroganoff surprise

During a recent cold spell, my boyfriend expressed the desire to consume grilled steak.

“I don’t care if it’s 25 degrees outside, I’m going to fire up that damned barbecue and make us a dinner fit for royalty,” he declared, slapping an enormous package of tenderloin onto the kitchen…

more »
Necessary Chocolate
Making a sweet connection

This is the time of year when we eat even more chocolate than usual. The winter season sets the tone for hot cocoa consumption, and Americans consume 58 million pounds of its bittersweet darkness on and around Valentine’s Day—about 5 percent of U.S. annual chocolate consumption.

Credit…

more »
Events
Today
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Wild Things

9:30am|Interurban Trail

Spanish Storytime

10:30am|Lynden Library

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Magnolia Street and Cornwall Avenue

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Whatcom Humane Society Wine Social

6:00pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Friday Night Art Party

6:00pm|Tillie Lace Gallery

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

And I Remember

7:00pm|Village Books

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

International Guitar Night

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

James Hunter Six

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Borealis Wind Quintet

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

MBT Rovers Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Tomorrow
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

17th annual Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival

10:00am|Whatcom County

New documentary focuses human rights film festival

7:52pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Ubu Roi

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Weird Washington

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

PhotoLUSH 2017

6:00pm|Lairmont Manor

Always…Patsy Cline

7:00pm|Conway Muse

King John

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Cupid's Arrow Final Weekend

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Snow Play Day and Survival Skills

8:00am|Mt. Baker Ski Area

Children's Literature Conference

9:00am|Performing Arts Center

What's New in Organic Gardening

9:00am|Garden Spot Nursery

Plant Society Ramble

9:30am|Maple Creek Loop

UFO Primer

10:00am|Syre Hall

FiberFest 2017

10:00am|La Conner Middle/High School

Intro to Ancestry

10:00am|Ferndale Library

Winter Trail Run Series

10:00am|BBMX Park

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Smelt Run

10:00am|La Conner Middle School

Kids Can Cook

11:00am|Community Food Co-op

Washington Beer Open House

12:00pm|Whatcom and Skagit counties

An all-season outdoor expo

1:00pm

Tax Help

1:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Weird Washington

1:00pm|Lynden Library

Raising Pigs

1:30pm|Cloud Mountain Farm Center

Peace Corps Revisited

3:00pm|Lynden Library

Geology Underfoot

3:00pm|Deming Library

Starry Night Chamber Orchestra

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Whatcom Writes

4:00pm|Village Books

Wishes for Our Stars Gala

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Varsity Vocals

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Comedy Fundraiser

7:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Boating Center Fundraiser

7:00pm|Elks Club

Light in the Night Gala

7:00pm|Settlemyer Hall

Wetzel's World

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove
Sunday
KMRE broadcaster receives citizen journalism award

5:00pm

Arsenic and Old Lace

7:00pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Into the Woods

7:30pm|Whidbey Playhouse

Up the Down Staircase

7:30pm|Squalicum High School

Bayshore Symphony Winter Concert

7:30pm|Central Lutheran Church

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Refugee Talk

2:00pm|Christ the Servant Lutheran Church

Northwest Cancer Summit

2:00pm|Bellingham Golf and Country Club

Sting and Piano Chamber Concert

3:00pm|Firehouse Performing Arts Center

The Tao of Raven

4:00pm|Village Books

Making time with Oscar

4:30pm

The Irish Rovers

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

MBT Rovers Bellingham Farmer’s Market Northwood Steak and Crab Bellingham Technical College Village Books Trove Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1