A Hidden Restaurant on the Puget Sound – Boathouse 19

Lobster Ravioli in Tomato Cream Sauce

Living in a new state is super fun.  There are so many new attractions to visit both near my home and further abroad which are now easier to travel to.  Since the move I’ve been making a list of restaurants I want to try and putting them in my “places to try raffle” (Yes, it’s literally a raffle with little slips of paper with the names and addresses of restaurants and locations in a big jar that I pull from every week to determine where I will be reviewing next.).  One of those restaurants is Boathouse 19 located at 9001 South 19th Street, Tacoma WA. 

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the dim interior was that the restaurant did a steady business but was not too busy at lunchtime.  A definite plus for me since I don’t like long waits or super crowded dining rooms.  Only about half the seats were taken and nearly all over the window seats were open.  It was amazing and I was super excited that I would be able to get a window seat with a great view of the Puget Sound…

View of Puget Sound from Boathouse 19 waterside restaurant.

But I did not get a great view of the Puget sound, or even a window seat for that matter.  What I got for going in to eat lunch alone was a seat in the middle of the restaurant floor.  The view I did have was this…

In case you can’t tell, the view is blocked by buildings in the foreground and the sun was at an uncomfortable angle for me to actually look at the ocean in the background.  Which is the complete opposite of what I would have seen if I had been seated at one of the empty window tables on the other side of the restaurant like I requested.

Now, I hadn’t been terribly excited about trying the food here because I’d looked at the menu and there were a lot of things which contained ingredients, I am allergic to.  It took ages for me to muddle through the menu ticking things off the list so that I could try something which wouldn’t give me hives, interfere with my breathing, or put me into anaphylactic shock.  I finally gave up and let the waiter recommend the Lobster Ravioli which I hadn’t fully looked at the ingredients in the menu for and the smoked salmon chowder.

Smoked Salmon Chowder

I was not thrilled with the chowder which came before my the rest of my meal. It had corn in it as well as potato and the corn flavor overwhelmed the salmon in the cup of soup I tried. It tasted more like I was eating corn chowder than salmon chowder. I’ve tried salon chowder more than a few times at various restaurants and it’s rare for it to be just right. It is difficult to balance the smokey fish flavor with the sweetness of the corn. But I find that if the corn is just left out, the dish is a lot simpler to make just right for me.

When my meal arrived, I saw the off red color of the sauce.  After explaining that I ordered it on the recommendation of my waiter, didn’t read the ingredients and that I wanted to make sure the dish didn’t contain what I was allergic to, asked the woman who brought it to me (not the man who had recommended it to me and who had taken my order) what made the sauce red (just in case it turned out that it was what I was allergic to).  She laughed at me and said it a tomato cream sauce.  Then she walked away and proceeded to have a loud discussion with other restaurant staff which I overheard about how I didn’t know that tomatoes made the sauce red and had a few laughs at my expense.

Now for the food.  The sauce was quite good.  Turns out that what I had ordered was the lobster ravioli.  The menu describes this dish as; main lobster, tomato cream sauce, grape tomatoes, fresh tarragon, and a grilled baguette.  My grilled baguette tasted burnt.  But, the parmesan on my pasta was either freshly shaved or well stored because it wasn’t dry or rubbery. 

The lobster was delicious.  The ravioli, however, was not fully cooked.  It was a little tough and dry.  Just the dough.  Not the filling.  While I actually loved the flavor, but the pasta was too firm and obviously under-done.  Something which I didn’t bother trying to have fixed after the behavior of the staff member who had brought it to me.  I’m not terribly surprised that it was undercooked though.  My food was brought out very quickly.

What I did like about the pasta was that they were streaked and speckled with what I was told were dried tomatoes pureed into the noodles.  It was incredibly visually dynamic, gorgeous brilliant red tomato-y goodness against the yellow of the pasta.  That puree made for bright tangy spots of rich tomato flavor which was a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the lobster and the creaminess of the mellow sauce.  But the tarragon in the dish was amazing.  It was exactly the right combination of flavors.

I can’t wait to try making this dish at home with fully cooked pasta and a baguette which is grilled on a clean griddle and doesn’t have that latent burned flavor.  Maybe with a sweet potato noodle recipe.  I don’t know.  Unfortunately, I won’t be trying it at the restaurant again any time soon.

Whatever the server had said to her coworkers seemed to also offend my waiter as he never did bring me my check.  I had to hunt down a member of the staff to pay my bill when I left.  That was sad because the original server had been awesome.  Did this place delight me?  Not so much.  I’m giving it one D on the Delighting Delilah scale.

Do I think other people would have a better experience than I did? Probably. I’m not going to say anyone shouldn’t go there or wouldn’t enjoy the experience. It’s just that I didn’t.

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