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Natalie the Nomad: Duke’s Chowder House

Natalie the Nomad: Duke’s Chowder House
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We’re never quite sure where Natalie will end up each month!

I come away from this review with mixed feelings, and I’ll tell you why throughout the post. Knowing that Kevin and his wife would be in town, we wanted to take him some place with pizzazz, and of course, amazing food. Well, my husband’s job required that he stay within a certain radius, and that radius unfortunately did not include Seattle. With that said, there are plenty of amazing restaurants in the area, but of course, lady luck was not on our side and the places we were choosing fell short due to closure times.

When we looked up Duke’s Chowder House, we were pleased to find out that they were award winning AND local, and their website gave a sense of a ‘mom and pop shop’. Upon walking into the Kent Station location, this was not the case. Granted, this was in a nicer, new part of town – so walking into what is represented as a sleepy beach town oyster shack in another location would be a shock to those who came to the Kent Station location first. They stayed true to their roots though, adorning the restaurant with everything “Duke” related – the college sports team and pictures of John Wayne.

The main appetizer was a plate of Local Washington Steamers. They were swimming in a garlic sauce that makes your mouth water just smelling it, and they were steamed in Duke’s favorite beer. There were three different chowders that came to the table; the “Award Winning”, Bourbon and Lobster. I personally did not like mine in the least [Lobster], and latter two out of the three chowders were especially gummy. Upon further investigation, Lobster isn’t even used in the chowder, but instead Langostinos, which are more hermit crab than lobster… We all agreed that the Award Winning chowder was the best of the table, although it tasted rather plain and a little boring.

Alaskan Rockfish

There were four main entrees, one of which was the Blackened Alaskan Rockfish, served with asparagus and Hempler Hash. The hash was a delicious mix of potato, bacon, onion and fit perfectly alongside the blackened, yet tender fish. Atop the fish there was a heaping, albeit delicious pile of Duke’s very own, homemade tartar sauce.

I had the Pacific Ocean Mahi Mahi Tacos. These were awesome. I’ll admit that the heat got to me a little after a while, but a combination of mango chutney and tequila lime aïoli, cucumber pico de gallo is bound to be spicy. The fish was cooked perfectly, and while it may sound as though the surrounding would be overwhelming, I would not have changed a thing. The dish came with salsa and chips, which were both unexciting and dull – but the fish tacos more than made up for it.

While my husband and I ordered the Chocolate Volcano Cake, Kevin and his wife ordered the Homemade Marionberry Pie. Though I was too busy diving headfirst into massive amounts of chocolate, I did overhear that their pie was a bit on the chilly side. While they were more than eager to eat the berry filling, the pie crust was left as a shell, mainly uneaten.

Chocolate Lover’s Volcano Cake, served with a scoop of ice cream. This was the perfect way to end the night; smooth chocolate washing away the spice of my dish, quickly followed by the coolness of the vanilla ice cream. With that said, I have a minor gripe with this dish. It’s clearly refrigerated/frozen prior to being served, and the heat didn’t make it all the way through. The center of it was still cold, and the ‘lava’ didn’t flow as freely as one particular chocolate fiend would have liked.

All is forgiven, so long as they don’t sit us by the Duke Basketball flag again.

Duke’s Chowder House – Kent Station Location
240 W. Kent Station St.
Kent, WA 98032