5410 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle WA 98107
We have been lucky so far this summer and the sun has been out most every day since mid-June. For me, my seafood intake is directly proportionate to summertime weather, so I go a bit overboard this time of year. Luckily, there have been numerous new restaurants to satisfy our “sea-tooth”.
The owners of Ballard Annex have done a great job of transporting guests to the sea: clever use of ropes and nets, inconspicuous nautical paintings, and honey-colored hardwood throughout all give this relatively new oyster bar a playful and modern seafaring atmosphere. With intimate booths, an available back room for events, as well as a seat-wrapped bar, this place can service most anyone… as long as you put in a reservation early. When arriving before 8pm, we were told that if we didn’t have a reservation, the wait would be around 45 minutes for a table. Peeking our heads in further, we were surprised to see that most tables were empty in their general seating area. We quickly declined the wait and instead squeezed ourselves into the two remaining bar seats.
Willy’s Bucket is several pounds of freshly steamed mussels, clams, and oysters. The shellfish are served in the “bucket” in which they’re prepared. This plate is enough to share between two people as an appetizer or accompanied by another entree. For the fellow Frugals out there, the broth is delicious when soaked into a side of bread.
The Annex may appear outwardly lighthearted, but they’re serious about quality seafood. We in the Northwest know good food, especially seafood, and that could be why this place is swarming with people come dinnertime most any night of the week. More than anything, The Annex has wiggled it’s way into Ballard by embracing its history; the name of the restaurant pays homage to a precious tenant, items on the menu give mention to current neighbors, and even it’s website tells the history of Ballard. Thumbs up for giving Ballard it’s due credit for being one of best neighborhoods in Seattle.