Pacific Inn Pub
3501 Stone Way N, 547-2967
Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat-Sun noon-2 am.

It is supremely counterintuitive that the right time to eat oysters is in the "r" months, since the "r" months tend to be rainy and cold and call out for foods like soup. Icy, raw seafood on the half-shell seems like summer fare, but I suppose you can't argue with nature.

So here we are in October, and I fully intended to sample the new season's oysters. After a few discreet and well-placed inquiries, however, I found that certain experts deem this year's oysters not quite ready for eating. I don't know what this means, but I was certainly ready, so instead of settling in for an afternoon at one of Seattle's many oyster bars, I headed over to the Pacific Inn for the breaded and fried variety.

Fry shops the world over have made us all very cynical about fish 'n' chips, but you should not let this stand between you and a plate of perfectly fried oysters ($6.99). They are phenomenal: nice and crunchy on the outside, perfectly moist and surprisingly briny on the inside--not the mouthful of fried latex you might have encountered elsewhere. They are, above all, oystery, without the bland anonymity of much fish that suffers itself to be breaded and fried, which is why if you must use a condiment (and these are good enough to eat condimentless), go with the bright, tart cocktail sauce--which complements the oyster--rather than swaddling it in tartar sauce. The reward is a perfect savory combination of shellfish, bread crumbs, oil, horseradish, and tomato--and it's piping hot as well. Watch out as you bite into it: Hot oyster juice, I have discovered, can travel the entire length of a well-stocked bar.