Edmonds Restaurant News: A Caribbean oasis at Calypso, Valentine-ready menu at 190 Sunset

Conch fritters at Calypso.

Calypso has been open since mid-December, but I wanted to give it a little time to work out the kinks. On Wednesday, I decided it was high time that I dropped in for dinner.

Located near the ferry landing at 109 Main St., Calypso’s window tables provide a fantastic vantage point for taking in our spectacular sunsets.

Owners Michael Chambers and Jennifer Myatt have done an amazing job of transforming the place into an oasis of Caribbean food and drink. The atmosphere is relaxed, with reggae, ska and rock burbling out of speakers in the ceiling. The space itself is open and inviting, the lighting low and tasteful. Everything is new and shiny.

You can add this destination to the list of Edmonds’ most romantic tables. With Valentine’s Day coming up, that might be worth noting. On the evening I dined there, several couples were enjoying a romantic evening — combining dinner with the Lyle Lovett/John Hiatt concert at the ECA. In fact, the place was doing a pretty brisk business for Wednesday night.

I approve of their decision to go reservation-free. Oh sure, if you have a big party and want to call ahead they can usually work something out. But this way, they can accommodate the more spontaneous among us. It’s first come, first served.

Calypso owners Jennifer Myatt and Michael Chambers.

“We’ve started making a waitlist for weekend evenings,” Myatt said. “If we don’t have an open table, people can walk over to Rory’s, grab a drink and we’ll text them when their table’s ready. That seems to be working pretty well.”

It’s not unusual for someone to drop into my bookstore and share some useful intelligence about restaurant goings-on. But yesterday, two separate “informants” raved about Calypso’s conch (rhymes with honk) fritters.

The conch batter is light and mild so it cooks up a nice golden brown. The conch itself (sourced from Honduras) is soft, not too chewy — which gives the fritters a nice texture. What’s especially remarkable is the aioli that accompanies the conch. It’s a thick, flavor-filled spicy aioli that’s said to contain 21 spices. Good luck reverse engineering this one. I found myself unabashedly scrapping up the last drops. Warning: This stuff might be habit-forming. It’s served on a bed of romaine with some tasty veggie slaw. It’s a screaming deal at nine bucks.

Calypso’s entryway.

A number of intriguing options appear on the entrée side of the menu, but I’m a sucker for oxtail stew. Calypso presents theirs in a whimsical stack atop a bed of whipped mashed potatoes. The stew included a nice combination of okra, kale, chopped zucchini, onion and red pepper that complemented the oxtail nicely.

Calypso’s chef Jason Orth is doing a terrific job here. I’m still looking forward to trying his pork ribs and the coconut prawns with mango habanera chutney — both of which have also received serious raves around town.

109 Main St #1
Open Monday-Saturday 5-11 p.m.
Closed Sunday

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Skylar Gemar, 190 Sunset executive chef.

190 Sunset plans on celebrating Valentine’s Day all weekend this year.

On Valentine’s Day itself, 190 will be serving a delectable four-course menu handcrafted by Chef Skyler Gemar.

Entree options include mouthwatering choices like filet and lobster, Chateaubriand for two, and pan-seared Alaskan halibut along with your choice of appetizer and soup or salad.

But what’s for dessert? A selection of either passion cheesecake or dark chocolate mousse with raspberries.

Reservations are highly recommended as they’re expected to have a full house all evening.

In addition to Valentine’s Day, 190 Sunset is celebrating romance all weekend with special selections on top of the regular menu that will be offered on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

190 Sunset
190 Sunset Ave.

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407 Coffee House taking shape.

The 407 Coffee House at 407 Main St. is making good progress toward getting its doors open. When I dropped by to visit with manager Bob Braun, an employee orientation was in progress. With just a couple of permitting hurdles to clear, 407 plans to have its Edmonds Chamber of Commerce-sponsored ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 2 to 3 p.m.

Employee orientation at The 407 Coffee House.

All the high-tech barista gizmos are in place, and vendors have been selected. Olympia Coffee was their choice for beans, White Knuckle got the nod for breakfast wraps, salads and sandwiches, Blazing Bagels will provide the bagels, and they’ve brought Ahab on board for pastries and tea.

Braun is placing a high priority on excellent customer service and hopes to encourage customers to unplug — to relax and leave the digital world behind for a little while when they visit 407. Sounds good to me!

Learn more at www.the407.co.

James Spangler— By James Spangler

The furthest thing from a finicky eater, James Spangler insisted on trying everything on the table from the earliest age. At 13, he prepared Baked Alaska for an entire classroom and has had an insatiable appetite for good food ever since. On his days off, he’s rather be in the kitchen cooking for the people he loves than doing just about anything. If you catch him reading a book at his bookstore on 4th Avenue in Edmonds, there’s a good chance it’ll  have something to do with food.


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