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A Taste of Seaside Metal in Guerneville

Oysters and Octopus at Seaside Metal in Guerneville 

With seafood becoming increasingly more popular in Sonoma County, a taste of Seaside Metal in Guerneville was a necessity. The Sonoma Coast, and its oceans of seafood, are about 12 miles from downtown Guerneville. Downtown Guerneville, meanwhile, is known for its increasingly art and food-centric vibe. And the two come together so beautifully at Seaside Metal.

When the chic seafood salon opened in March of 2014 from chef Mike Selvera and his partner / twin brother Tim Selvera, it was a big deal, since the duo owns San Francisco’s acclaimed Bar Crudo.

If you love oysters, you’ll love it here, sampling from the changing raw display set on a chipped ice bed. If you adore artic char, you’re in a shrine to the seafood, and if you crave chowder, you’re in a castle.

The look: It’s a small space, with a total of about two dozen seats including at the bar, at a few tables alongside the wall, and window perches. It’s casual-chic, with décor of white subway tile, weathered industrial lighting, an open kitchen and a mishmash of quirky art on the walls. And fair warning: the long, narrow space is popular with seafood famished crowds, so it quickly fills up with feed-good party mood.

To eat: Oh, you Fat Bastard. That’s not an insult, but a delicious Washington oyster ($3), drizzled in pink peppercorn mignonette. Fish is as local as possible, but as catch changes with the seasons, it sometimes it has to be brought in from further shores, like briny Point Reyes Miyagi ($3.25) or tiny, plush Kusshi ($3.50) from Washington. The chef presents the delicacies on ice draped with seaweed fronds, and explains the nuanced differences between the flavors.

That arctic char arrives in four silky slabs of pink fish smoothed with horseradish crème fraiche, salty pops of green wasabi tobiko and lacy dill ($14), while the chowder ($9 cup / $18 bowl), is notable for what it’s not. Stocked with squid, mussels, shrimp and fish, there are no clams – it’s more of a cream-based luxury soup spiked with potatoes, Nueske’s applewood smoked bacon, onions, celery, white wine, sweet mussel stock, garlic and a bit of hot sauce.

More timid diners might gravitate toward the very good thick cut spaghetti tumbled with   Manila clams, spring peas, mushroom and the surprising crunch of pistachio ($21). But it’s great to indulge in exciting bites like uni on thick slabs of toast smeared in buttery avocado, dots of yuzu tobiko and lime ($14).

You might also luck upon a special like scallop ceviche bathed in coconut milk and topped in black radish, cantaloupe cubes and a touch of chile ($11).

To note: This is one of the best happy hours around. From 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, you can get oysters for $1, chowder for $6, and $4 wine and beer specials.

Desserts: Profiteroles are light, tasty tidbits stuffed with crème brulee ice cream in chocolate sauce ($8).

To drink: More than a dozen craft draft beers beckon, alongside a short but well edited wine list ranging from Sonoma County to France.

Details: 16222 Main Street, Guerneville

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