The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 122 of 132

CHEF TALK Sole Owners K BLUEACRE PROPRIETOR KEVIN DAVIS IS SEATTLE'S STAR SEAFOOD CHEF photo by Joann Arruda evin Davis is shucking oysters for us behind the raw bar at his downtown Seattle restau- rant, Blueacre Seafood. He wants us to try the Shigoku oysters, which he explains means "ultimate" in Japanese; their thick shells—just over two inches—grow deep and the oysters fat and juicy from being tumbled very aggressively. He compares the process to racking wine: It's labor intensive, but the oysters are able to mature and not hit the market too early. Kevin Davis knows that fresh is key, and he knows how fresh should cook—whether it's local belly-cut bay salmon or his deliriously delicious katsu-marinated (on saké lees) black cod. "You cannot fry or grill this fatty black cod—it will just blow up," he insists. Davis remodeled Blueacre after Oceanaire closed at this location (he also owns Seattle's popular and more casual Steelhead Diner in Pike Place Market). Davis and his wife, Terresa, are the sole owners of the expansive and underwater blue–hued dining spot. In fact, Terresa finished law school after the couple opened the restaurant and also gave birth to twins during that same time period. "If you open with 50 partners, one or two restaurants will not support them," he advises. "But since it is just me and Terresa, and we can make a modest living, then we are fine. If we can work every day and raise our family modestly, then I am happy." Kevin Davis, owner of Seattle's Blueacre Seafood. Born and raised in New Orleans, Davis had to cook two nights a week for his dad and siblings when his mother passed away early in his life. Self- taught, his natural instinct was to improvise. The local cuisine and flavor was always in his blood. When he got his first restaurant job, he felt as if he "found the circus." The kitchen is his big top. He eventually came back to New Orleans after traveling the world and worked for a stint at Arnaud's and then to Napa as Executive Sous Chef at Tra Vigne, circa 1997. Moving to Seattle put him in touch with the local fare—specifi- cally, the fresh fish always available at Pike Place Market. He only works with domestic, closely monitored fisheries. "I am here in the Pacific Northwest to celebrate seafood." 122 / the tasting panel / september 2012

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