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August 25, 2010 at 8:09 AM

Tom Douglas corners the Market with Seatown Snack Bar

Tom Douglas and Jackie Cross finally got their latest restaurant off the ground, several months later than anticipated. Adding to their Seatown smackdown, this time they’ve cornered the Market — or, more precisely, the corner of Western and Virginia — with their casual eats-joint, Seatown Snack Bar, open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Seatown Snack Bar, from the outside looking in, and the inside looking out — at Steinbrueck Park.

The place is certain to draw the tourists, who’ll come to hoist a cocktail and dive into Dungeness.

The counter at Seatown Snack Bar, fronting a big open kitchen.

Chef Jack Spiess keeps his cool while tipping his cap to the task at hand. Nearby, “Big Crab” stay cool, waiting to be cracked and devoured.

Next door, is the spot for Tom-branded spices, cookbooks and other souvenirs at Snack Bar To-Go, a retail offshoot sandwiched between the main restaurant and its seafood-centric sibling, Etta’s).

“Sorry lady. Read the rules: That jar of Rub with Love barbecue sauce is 16-ounces of liquid. Can’t bring it on the plane. You should have bought the spice rub.”

Tourists aside, what’s in it for the rest of us? Well, that’s what I went to find out last weekend when I took a counter seat and grabbed a menu. Seeing as smoked seafood served over a trio of buckwheat blini is a house specialty, and the Seatown Smoked Seafood Sampler provides a tasting-tour of Northwest waters, I couldn’t pass it up. At $19, it’s spendy, but worth it. Hey, bartender! Can you make me a bellini to go with my blini?

That’s (clockwise, from left): Neah Bay steelhead caviar; Westport black cod with nectarine miso; Columbia River Sturgeon with peppers and pickled chanterelles; Willapa Bay oyster, with fennel relish and tobiko; Rockridge Cider-brined trout with pistachio and blackberry; and Yukon river silver salmon with chive creme fraiche.

My 12-year-old was less impressed with the fussy seafood pancakes than I was and suggested we try the “Wild Thing” — described only as “Dungeness crab, avocado, tobiko.” One bite and he said, “This is a California Roll, hold the nori and rice.” Right he was. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. When the woman seated next to us took a fork to her salted king crab with sour lime, served in peach half, Nate suggested we try one of those, too. He didn’t have to twist my arm.

The Wild Thing. Groovy.

Sweet king crab? Peachy keen.

We liked that preparation so well, the next day, when I was hard at work in my home office and he started complaining he was hungry for lunch, I said, “Me too, buster, but I’m busy. Why don’t you make us something?” So he did. Unfortunately, we were (way) out of king crab.

This is what happens when a kid dines out a lot, his parents like to cook, and you sign him up for one of those Tom Douglas-branded kid’s cooking classes: bacon-stuffed peaches.

Teaching kids to cook is a very good idea. Otherwise, they’ll end up growing up thinking roasting a chicken is a big deal (it’s not) and that every meal should come from places like Seatown Snack Bar To-Go, open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and a one-stop shop for Dahlia Bakery bread and treats, sandwiches, and rotisserie meats sold by the pound (and the slice).

The menu at the take-away shop.

Trust me, it’s cheaper to roast your own (left), but the nice fella behind Seatown’s take out counter was happy to sell me a thick slice of porchetta and a side of potatoes browned in the drippings.

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