Name: Keenan’s at the Pier.
Location: Inside the Chrysalis Inn & Spa, 804 10th St. in Bellingham. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Happy hour is 3 to 6 p.m. More information is at 360-392-5510 and thechrysalisinn.com.
Quick bite: There’s happy hour and then there’s happy hour at Keenan’s — where you can relax and stare at Bellingham Bay as the sun sets while sipping an IPA from Kulshan Brewing and biting into fish tacos and truffle fries while congratulating yourself for living in such a beautiful place.
And you won’t break the bank doing it.
For the happy hour price of $7, you get two corn tortillas filled with pan-seared Alaskan true cod, green cabbage, corn salsa and a cilantro-lime aioli.
The slightly sweet aioli was a nice foil for the spices in the blackened cod and the slightly crisp charred corn tortillas.
If you’ve been disappointed by fish tacos that are, bizarrely, fish sticks stuck in a tortilla or stingy on the fish, give Keenan’s Cajun-inflected version a try.
As for the truffle fries, $5 at happy hour gets you a bowl of these russet potatoes tossed with thyme, Parmesan and white truffle oil. They come with a side of roasted-garlic aioli that you must absolutely dip your fries into. This dish should come with a warning: Too yummy to resist.
It’s garlicky and salty and immensely satisfying comfort food. You won’t be able to stop eating.
Side: I added to my small-bites tour with the scampi prawn bake for $12. The appetizer is on the dinner menu. It’s tender prawns sitting in a buttery-creamy sauce with a dusting of pepper flakes. Charred, plain slices of white bread are there for sopping up the sauce.
I wish there was a little more oomph to the sauce. Perhaps the problem was that it couldn’t compete with the garlicky french fries, but the creamy flavor seemed bland.
Ambiance: Casual and elegant. Keenan’s is one of those places you can go for a fancy date night or easy meet-up with friends, and prices that reflect both. The restaurant also has creative vegetarian fare.
Got suggestions for tasty tidbits in Whatcom County or an eatery known for a particular dish? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-715-2234.