Four friends went for an afternoon walk in downtown Tacoma and were going to finish up at Johnny's Seafood Market & Bistro (the old Johnny's Seafood). They called to connect with us for dinner. We met them twenty minutes later inside. There would have been a ten to fifteen minute wait for outside seating. This was about five in the afternoon on a beautiful summer day.
Peg and I hadn't eaten at the new configuration of Johnny's, but we were disappointed that they reduced the amount of seafood selections in their cases. This was our favorite place for fresh fish in Tacoma as well as smoked salmon bellies, and crab/shrimp cocktails. Their fresh cocktails and chowder were always great for lunching or snacking.
Two of the wait-staff had called in sick that day so service was a little slow. After twice asking for water, our friend Jan went to the bar and asked for water for the table.
Dinner selections are pretty limited at Johnny's so we carefully looked over the different appetizers, main dishes, and sandwiches. Seeing no fried oysters on the menu, Peg ordered the Fried Oyster Po' Boy. I ordered Razor Clam Chowder in addition to Cod and Chips. Debbie ordered the Steamed Mussels, which got my attention so I cancelled the chowder in favor of mussels.
The mussels were plentiful with onions and peppers served in coconut milk. I was happy. My favorite mussels are still from the Lobster Shop, however. Samples were handed out around the table. I would order them, again. They were tender and sweet.
In addition to a mussel or two given to Peg, I also gave her a piece of cod from my Cod and Chips. The french fries were thin and tasty. I didn't want to eat them all, but did, anyway. Peg gave me two fried oysters from her sandwich selection. I hope Johnny's creates a fried oyster dinner, so we don't have to waste the po' boy bun, again.
Although, my fish was good, it lagged well behind my local favorites: The Spar Tavern, Katie Downs, and Shenanigan's. I like bigger pieces and beer battered. Johnny's cod will not pull me back in to dine. However, I do want to return and try their scallops and rice pilaf as well as their bacon wrapped scallops. There was enough on the menu to entice me to return. The prices were fair and the food is worth trying.
With a location on the Thea Foss, it would be hard not to have a successful restaurant. With quality food Johnny's should have plenty of returning customers. We saw and chatted with friends. If we had been seated outside under the umbrellas we would have even stayed longer. If we had stayed longer, we would have been forced to order another pitcher of sangria, which was excellent. None of the fresh raspberries and blueberries went un-fished out of the glasses or pitcher. It's rare to have a dinner drink that requires a fork. I only had a few sips because my lemonade was perfect.
Unfortunately across the channel is Johnny's Dock Restaurant. Our friend Donn looked at Johnny's Dock and licked his lips. He had been thinking about their Hot Fudge Sundae since one of his sons mentioned it a few days before. There was nothing we could do. We didn't want to hear Donn whine about being so close and not having ice cream, so we picked up and drove for maybe two minutes to Johnny's Dock.
The waterway, with its numerous marinas and docks has constant, although easy going traffic. Before the renovation of Johnny's Seafood, Peg and I had sat in our car eating selections from Johnny's in the middle of winter. Rain or shine there is always an interesting parade passing by. There are both waterfowl and watercraft riding the tides, and people just walking along enjoying the view.
North of Johnny's Bistro and Johnny's Dock is the Murray Morgan Bridge and south of both Johnnies is what Peg calls the Ballerina Bridge. We love looking at them both.
Johnny's Dock had a reunion going in full swing, so we went to the bar. I'm not sure of how many friends we saw, but there were several tables of them scaterred around the deck and the bar.
We ordered coffees around. Jan and Mike shared a sherbert. Debbie had a Creme Brulee. Donn had a hot fudge chocolate sundae with whip cream, nuts, and a cherry on top. Peg and I shared one of them, also. We all made fun of each other and laughed at least once every minute we were there. It was a wonderful evening.
As we drove home down Ruston Way, Peg and I noticed that each of our favorite restaurants were all busy. The parking lots were packed. The high tide reflected the blue sky as it turned to dusk. We glanced up Puget Sound past Vashon Island. The Pacific Northwest is such a great place to live.