I’m one of those people who like to channel surf. While I’m flipping through channels, I’ll inevitably wind up watching something on PBS. I love that at any given moment, PBS will be showing something compelling and thought-provoking (“Run to the East”), shamelessly geeky (“History Detectives”) or just weirdly watchable (“Antiques Roadshow”).
The show brings three strangers together to talk about their favorite restaurants. Each person recommends a restaurant, everyone goes to the three places, and then they discuss the food and their experiences.
I enjoy “Check, Please!” because it celebrates the diversity of dining establishments—from fancy four-star restaurants to humble sandwich shops—and the idea that good food can be found anywhere.
A friend encouraged me to apply to be on the show, and several weeks later, I found myself drinking wine at 10:30 in the morning and filming an episode with “Check, Please!” host Amy Pennington. On our episode, the three of us reviewed Ray’s Boathouse, Bakeman’s and Blackboard Bistro.
I have been to Ray’s Cafe many times, but never to the fancier Ray’s Boathouse. I had dinner there with my husband, our 4-year-old son, and another couple and their 7-year-old son.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ray’s Boathouse has an excellent kid’s menu and a family-friendly atmosphere while still being upscale. I do not like when restaurants act like kids will only eat chicken strips, hotdogs or grilled cheese sandwiches. Both of the boys had steamed clams in dill butter broth (yes, this was on the kids’ menu!) and loved them. I enjoyed the fresh, Asian-inspired flavors of the Dungeness crab salad.
The best thing about Ray’s Boathouse is its spectacular view of Shilshoe Bay and the Olympic Mountains. We were lucky enough to have dinner at Ray’s Boathouse on a sunny spring day in Seattle. We timed our visit so that we would be able to see the sunet. Our friends with us were visiting from New Orleans, and they loved being able to enjoy the incredible view while eating dinner.
On the downside, I feel like the food is overpriced and the service we experienced did not match the price point of the food. Our server was friendly but was not as attentive as we would have liked and disappeared for long stretches of time.
I would recommend Ray’s Boathouse for entertaining out of town guests or celebrating a special ocassion.
In the intro to “Check, Please!” there’s a clip of me dramatically saying the word, “Gigantic!” What I’m talking about (although it didn’t make it into the show) are the serving sizes of Bakeman’s pies. I had the apple pie and tried some of my friend’s lemon meringue pie. Both were spectacular.
My restaurant pick for the show was Blackboard Bistro in West Seattle. It is a cozy neighborhood restaurant with outstanding food with surprising flavors. Staff and patrons alike are very friendly. We talked to the people sitting by us about their food and asked for their recommendations. No “Seattle freeze” here!
Here’s what we all thought about Blackboard Bistro.
To watch the entire “Check, Please!” episode, go to the KCTS 9 website. I encourage everyone to apply to be a guest. You don’t have to be a food expert to be on the show—that’s the whole point. Amy and the staff at KCTS 9 are incredibly warm and welcoming, and make the entire experience really fun.