I had passed The Depot Restaurant while out on my bicycle tour with Jim Sayce during the morning of Saturday, June 16. So when my family and I set out from our hotel for dinner that evening, I knew exactly where I was going.
As soon as we arrived, we could see that it must be a popular little place. There was no available parking nearby. We eventually found a spot when another Depot Restaurant guest left. Once inside the restaurant, I could feel that this was some place special. We were immediately greeted owner Nancy Gorshe. She was just as sweet as could be with a twinkle in her eye as she welcomed us into the restaurant. She brought us to a table that had one of those fancy “Reserved” signs on it. My goodness, I felt like someone incredibly special to have my family arriving at a table that had been reserved just for us.
Our waitress immediately took our beverage order and told us about the specials of the day. The Garlic Festival was also going on the same weekend we were in Long Beach, so many of the specials featured fresh garlic. While reading through the menu, there was an appetizer (or Small Bites dish as it is referred to on their menu) that kept catching my eye: Peruvian Mango Sea Scallops. Even though I had fried scallops for lunch earlier in the day, I couldn’t resist and so we ordered the scallops to try. When the scallops arrived – this is going to sound cheesy – but they were so beautiful, I almost was afraid to eat it. The presentation was just gorgeous. Three giant pan seared Atlantic sea scallops sat on a rectangle dish bathing in a spicy mango salsa and topped with pickled red onion. After drooling over them through the camera lens, my husband and I finally decided to take a bit (the kids were not feeling adventurous that day, so they did not try it). The scallop was like butter. It had an incredibly smooth texture and not an overwhelming taste of “sea food”. The mango salsa was fresh and sweet with a right amount of spice. With each fork full of scallop both my husband and I would drench our bite of scallop in the mango salsa. It was just incredible. Want to know just how incredible? My husband put his pride aside and politely asked for another side of bread so he could finish the leftover mango salsa. When the bread came, the kids finally tried the mango salsa … and loved it. It was really just that amazing.
For my meal, I ordered the pan searched King Salmon with garlic pesto butter, garlic mashers, and vegetables, which was one of the daily specials. I am not sure that I can correctly put into words just how delicious the meal was. Every aspect of it was just perfect. The salmon was perfectly cooked and the garlic pesto butter added a wonderful burst of flavor to the salmon. The garlic mashers had the perfect amount of garlic flavor, nothing too overpowering. The vegetables were cooked but still retained a slight crispness to them – which I love and prefer.
While enjoying our meal, I couldn’t help but look around and take in the restaurant itself. It is a small place but I almost couldn’t see it as anything bigger. The Depot Restaurant sits in a former train depot built in 1905. The depot discontinued operation in 1930. It wasn’t until 2001 when the former train depot was transformed into The Depot Restaurant by Chef Michael Lalewicz and wife, Nancy Gorshe. Chef Lalewicz is a classically trained chef who brings his experience as an international traveler and chef to the table. His food preparation and presentation takes front and center in the area, if you ask me. I had no idea walking into the small Depot Restaurant that this was the place that houses such an award winning chef and his amazing creations. Nancy mentioned that most of the food they cook with and serve is purchased locally or imported from Portland (where Chef Lalewicz developed and opened the Greek Kitchen at Jimmy Mak’s).
The Depot Restaurant is adorned with old, historic photos of the former depot. Inside the restaurant is a little on the dark side but I think it suits the ambience just fine. Maybe it brings you in a little closer to share a conversation or to share a meal. But I think it creates a cozy, warm atmosphere. No matter what table you are at in the restaurant, you can see into the kitchen and see Chef Lalewicz creating his magic. I would occasionally see him look out into his restaurant with a big smile on his face and that same familiar twinkle in his eye that Nancy has. Don’t be fooled by the high quality food and assume that it isn’t a place you wouldn’t take your young children. That is not the case here! The Depot Restaurant is family friendly and our waitress did an amazing job making our children feel welcome and important. She put together a special dessert for our daughter and even gave both of my kids hugs goodbye while thanking them for coming to the restaurant. Truly exceptional!
Nancy lovingly told us that all the food they serve is, “handled with love and care” – and it clearly shows. Each plate that was brought out, whether it was the house salad or our main meal, was brought out as a presentation not of just any food but as a presentation of pure artistic ability. Years of experience can create good things but years of experience combined with love and appreciation creates unforgettable experiences that can be shared with everyone … and that is exactly what we had thanks to The Depot Restaurant.
If you find yourself in the Seaview/Long Beach area, please stop by The Depot Restaurant:
1208 38th Place
Seaview, WA 98644