550 S Franklin St. Juneau, AK | 907.463.5033 | website | open 11 am – 10 pm everyday
The next stop after Ketchikan was Juneau, the capitol of Alaska which retains the feel of a small remote town as it is accessible only by air or by sea. There are so many tempting excursions: helicopter rides out to walk on glaciers, dog sledding, whale tours, sports fishing… we ended up on a local bus heading over to Mendenhall Glacier which is 12 miles away, a very popular tourist destination. There were tour buses everywhere, but since this is a big wilderness you can quickly get out on the trails and away from the crowds.
We hiked around the east glacier loop which gave lovely views of waterfalls and babbling streams, but we never did encounter bears or glaciers. The further and higher you go, the less people you encounter. It’s very, very green and we saw numerous waterfalls and crossed many burbling streams.
We worked up a hearty appetite on that little hike and were looking forward to lunch. It occurred to me that this was our last Alaskan stop and that I hadn’t had the local King Crab experience, so that was my mission to accomplish in Juneau. We went to Twisted Fish, which is located on the wharf and had good recommendations online. The thing about online recommendations? They’re like reading this blog, just some random people’s opinions on food and so the results can be very hit or miss.
The interior is like an upscale lodge with lots of mounted fish painted with modern flair.
It’s literally on the dock where the cruise ships park and we could see our ship from the window of the restaurant.
Our server was very earnest and nice, but when the hordes of tourists came in, he began to run around the room and we didn’t see much of him. I work very close to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and the vibe here was very similar. The staff largely ignored us as one time visitors and didn’t invest very much effort in tending to our needs. After all, we were two of many thousands of tourists coming off the four docked cruise ships.
Anyways, being lovers of oysters, we started with some Alaskan Oysters on the half shell (7 for $11.95).
They were kind of big and meaty but had a clean sweet taste. These were delicious!
I gulped when I saw the Alaskan King Crab Legs on the menu for a whopping $31.95. For 20 oz, served with melted butter and lemon? I decided to go for it since who knows when I’ll ever be in Alaska for fresh crab!
I’m glad I did, although I was dubious when my plate of 3 legs arrived. But it ended up being a lot of incredibly sweet and succulent meat that was very delicious, especially with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and then dipped into melted butter. I was very content with this dish and kept digging out pieces for Mr. K who was looking a little bit glum with his plate…
My entree did not come with the delicious looking cheese-herbed bread knot as promised, but I stole Mr. K’s and we both enjoyed the basket of twisted fries.
Mr. K got the Cedar Plank Salmon ($21.95), which was a wild boneless salmon fillet baked on a cedar plank, served with bourbon-molasses sauce on the side. His plate came with the delicious cheese-herbed bread knot that I took ownership of and creamed baby red potatoes.
The salmon was disappointingly bland and flavorless. The bourbon molasses sauce added a bitter flavor which did nothing to improve the dish. The creamed potatoes were overdone and coated in a bland cream sauce, and had tough, shriveled skins. At first I thought they looked like swedish meatballs!
Our tab with tip came close to $100, which I felt was a bit highbrow for the quality of the dining experience. You know that I don’t mind forking out the bucks if it’s worth it, but even when you factor in the whole tourist thing, that wasn’t a $100 lunch in my opinion.
Afterwards, we took the tram up the hill and walked around for a lovely postprandial stroll and enjoyed the breathtaking views. But again, the $27 each to go up the hill was a bit outrageous…