Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Oak Table Café…

in Sequim, WA, is one of the best.

We were out in The Big White Truck one day heading for—well, I don’t remember where we were heading, and it really doesn’t matter—when Chuck suddenly asks, “Would you be able to put together a list of the ten best restaurants we have eaten at during the past five-plus years? Oh, and they have to be outside of Louisiana.” This latter was important because we could make a list of ten and then have overflow from that state alone.

As we began to talk, it soon became apparent that what we were listing were specific menu items that we liked (e.g., the Asian Shrimp at Asian Noodle Bar in Albuquerque), but couldn’t remember much of the menu beyond those. Sure, there were a few exceptions. The one that immediately comes to mind is Andreoli Italian Grocer in Scottsdale, AZ, where everything we have eaten could be considered a favorite.

And in the Oak Table Café we have found another.
“Mary and Billy Nagler opened the original Oak Table Cafe in Sequim, Washington in 1981. Together with their three children, Nikki, Kory, and Casey they have won the hearts and appetites of the folks in this beautiful river valley. In 1982, Mary’s brother, Billy Zuzich, joined the crew, and is now general manager. Kory, Casey, and Nikki all contributed to the success of their parents' business” (

“The Oak Table started out as a run-down little homestead…and over the years morphed into its present Thomas Kincade cottage. The lobby feels like you walked right into the Nagler family home. I have the ‘collecting disease,’ so I especially love the vintage plate collection on the walls and the shadow boxes filled with militaria—a tribute to the Nagler family service to our country (you'll find them hung just outside the restroom area).
Kids will be happily preoccupied in the play area until they have food in front of them. The 3D map of the Peninsula highlighting points of interest must be very helpful for visitors—and I know this dining establishment gets plenty of those during the season; it's on the list for residents to take visiting family members” (Shelley Taylor at
“Carefully crafted breakfasts and lunches, made with high-grade, fresh ingredients, are the focus of this well-run, family-friendly eatery.... Thick-sliced bacon and eggs are a top-seller, but the restaurant is best known for its creamy blintzes, golden-brown waffles, crepes, and variety of pancakes, particularly the cinnamony sweet soufflé-style apple pancake. Egg dishes include eggs Nicole—a medley of sautéed mushrooms, onions, spinach, and scrambled eggs served over an open-face croissant and covered with hollandaise sauce…” (

I would describe the décor more as Victoriana meets craftsman’s cottage and not something from Thomas Kincade. But that’s just me.

And I can imagine the dining room being full of happy diners in-season. But this is October, when the tourists have gone home and left much of the Olympic Peninsula to the local residents.
The café’s very extensive breakfast menu was posted on their web site, and we both had painstakingly studied the offerings. But we hadn’t counted on the list of breakfast specials that we received along with the main menu. That day’s specials included a Dungeness crab omelet, house-made corned beef hash, and eggs scrambled with smoked salmon. But the minute I saw the Dungeness Crab Eggs Benedict I knew that my decision was made.
There was nothing about this dish I didn’t love. The poached eggs were perfect with firm whites and runny yolks that ran like a mountain stream onto the plate. The hollandaise had just enough lemon to bring a fresh and bright flavor to the dish and offset to some extent the richness of the crab. And the crab. Oh, the crab. First, there was no scrimping on the crab. And the crab wasn’t just shreds but included large lumps of body meat.

With the Eggs Benedict came a large portion of the café’s Homemade American-Style Potatoes. While I am not a big fan of home fries these were superior to most and were nicely browned with lots of crunchy edges.

After numerous changes of mind, Chuck finally decided on the Fresh Potato Pancakes made with grated potatoes, cream, and a blend of nutmeg and other seasonings and served with applesauce and sour cream. I don’t know if you can see, without clicking on the photo to enlarge it, all of the airy little holes on the surface of the pancakes.
The interiors were almost creamy. These were kind of a cross between Jewish latkas and the potato pancakes our Thrifty German Mothers made from left over mashed potatoes.

Chuck wanted something to go with the potato pancakes and asked our server for some advice. The suggestion was a side of eggs with bacon. “We’re famous for our bacon” our server said.

Truer words may never have been spoken.

This was outrageously great bacon—not quite thick-cut, but thicker than your usual restaurant bacon. It was crisp, salty, and smoky. Just what bacon should be. Chuck described it by saying “one bite is like eating a whole slice of other bacon.” We learned that is comes from Wilson Meats in Seattle and—drat—is only available to restaurants.

This was a great breakfast. A real 5.0 Addie breakfast.
And now we have a decision to make. And what might that be, you are asking yourself? Tune in tomorrow.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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