PUYALLUP, WA: Crockett's Public House

Crockett’s Public House in Puyallup, Wash., about 35 miles south of downtown Seattle, was recently featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives but enjoyed a loyal following long before its television debut, and for good reason. On a recent sunny Sunday (yes, there are sunny days in Seattle), my wife and I headed south to try this place out.

Arriving about 2 p.m., the place was packed! Everyone from singles enjoying the all-day happy hour at the bar (Sundays only) to large families including grandparents, parents, and new grandchildren was enjoying the upbeat vibe of Crockett’s.

Kettle corn appetizer
The long brick building with high ceilings and hardwood floors give it just the right ambiance: lively enough to be fun without being so loud as to be overwhelming. Even the vintage rock ‘n’ roll plays on the sound system at just the right volume: loud enough to be heard (heck, even to sing along with), but not so loud diners have to shout over it.

The restaurant is named to honor Puyallup founding father Hugh Crockett, who moved to the area in 1877 and realized the Puyallup Valley was a great place for growing the hops used in brewing beer. Given the association to the art of brewing, it is appropriate that the gastro-pub bears his name.

But enough talk of history and ambience; we went there for the food. And we were not disappointed!

While the featured appetizer on Triple D was the restaurant’s fire-grilled artichoke, we chose an order of their kettle corn, which is not the sweet variety on offer at virtually every county fair. No, theirs comes sprinkled with either spicy chili and lemon seasoning or cheddar and Parmesan seasoning. It’s a great way to take the edge off if you arrive famished and just can’t wait to eat.

Mahi mahi grilled over mesquite coals
Although primarily a pub, Crockett’s has a pretty decent selection of wines by the glass as well as locally brewed beers. My wife chose an Acrobat Pinot Gris while I opted for a Sea Glass Sauvignon Blanc.

For our entrees, my wife selected the mahi mahi cooked over mesquite coals while I opted for the Public House meatballs.

Her mahi mahi was basted in cilantro lime, served with baja black beans, sarono corn cake, and fresh avocado topped with shreds of deep-fried tortilla. Smoky with a bit of heat in the black beans, it was both delicious and generous. Fully half came home for the next day’s lunch, as it was with my meatballs.

Public House Meatballs
One of the featured items on Triple D, the meatballs are prepared in-house by hand from equal portions of beef, pork, and veal augmented by some finely minced prosciutto. Red chilies, garlic, cayenne, black, and white peppers provide a little heat. They’re garnished with Parmesan cheese, pistachio nuts, and lime zest and served with sourdough garlic cheese toast. Although they only come three to an order, they’re huge and quite filling.

Dessert? Who had room? Although I must confess the Maker’s Mark caramel milk shake was seriously tempting. Maybe next time.

And there will be a next time; the menu at Crockett’s isn’t massive, but it’s big enough and varied enough to keep us coming back whether we’re in the mood for a full dinner or a simple sandwich, burger, or dog.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.

Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images