On the spot: Kevin Davis, Blueacre
Kevin Davis, co-owner of Steelhead Diner in Seattle, will return to his culinary roots when he opens Blueacre Seafood, formerly an expansive Oceanaire Seafood Room location in downtown Seattle. In mid-March, Davis will open Blueacre in the 9,000-square-foot space where he opened Oceanaire as chef de cuisine in 2001. Davis left in 2006 to start Steelhead Diner in the Pike Place Market area, and Oceanaire separately shuttered its Seattle location last summer after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Blank: What's it like to be back in the Oceanaire location that you helped opened, this time as an owner?
Davis: I had so much invested in this space that, to be able to come back to it, is the opportunity of a lifetime. We can look at all the things that worked and all the mistakes that we made. Then, we put it all into one spot and get a chance to do it again. People ask why we would open a restaurant in this economy. This location is two blocks from the convention center, by the federal courthouse, and has condominiums all around.
What will the Blueacre menu be like?
We are focusing on American seafood. Anything that swims inside the international water line is going to be our muse. When you buy yellowfin tuna off the international market, for example, you have no idea how those fisheries are being managed. There are oysters all the way up and down our coast, as well as geoduck, shellfish, Dungeness crab and lobster. We rely on Pacific Seafood for a lot of things. But we will be using seafood from the upper East Coast, the Gulf, and the east coast of Florida.
How does the Blueacre menu differs from Oceanaire's menu?
We are going to have a greater variety of species and lower price points. We want this restaurant to be about the heavy users. Locals can rely on us for frequent use and not feel like they have to apply for a second mortgage. You can get half portions and whole portions. There probably won't be anything on the menu over USD 30. We are going to have a great array of sandwiches at lunch and dinner.
What is your philosophy on sustainability and sourcing seafood?
When I was with Oceanaire, my philosophy was "all fresh and all wild." Over the years, I began to realize that it is not a good thing to be preaching. It is not a sustainable model that every seafood restaurant can follow. I began too look at other species, such as cod and halibut, and augment that with sustainable farmed freshwater species such as catfish and farmed trout out of Idaho, which is phenomenal. They are also farm-raising striped bass in Colorado and there is farmed shrimp.
Who are your suppliers?
Pacific Seafood is my No. 1 purveyor and has come to me with ideas of how to get sustainable resources within the U.S. I get most of my shellfish from Taylor Shellfish Farms and Marinelli Shellfish for the East Coast.