The Intimacy Factor
By Lori McKean
Published: 02/15/2012  Updated: 06/21/2019
The Depot's braised pork shoulder in Southern Comfort barbecue sauce on yam mashers surrounded by jalepeno creamed corn with green onion, maple and bacon salsa.
The Depot's braised pork shoulder in Southern Comfort barbecue sauce on yam mashers surrounded by jalepeno creamed corn with green onion, maple and bacon salsa.  Gary Hayes

Three restaurants on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula have mastered the art of intimate dining.

The Depot
Fans of historic railroad lore and fine cuisine should visit The Depot Restaurant. Housed in a long narrow train station built in 1888, The Depot feels like a cozy French Bistro. Small red lamps and vintage railroad travel posters create a romantic "Orient Express" intimacy. Chef/owner Michael Lalewicz works his magic in the open display kitchen. His wife Nancy Gorshe works as the sommelier, managing an extensive wine list – featuring sixteen wines by the glass each evening.

Chef Lalewicz draws inspiration for his seasonal menus from places he has worked and traveled around the world. The Chef's Table next to the open kitchen is one of The Depot's most intimate tables. Enjoy the scents and sights as Chef Lalewicz prepares your meal. As he finishes each dish, he reaches through his kitchen window to deliver his specialties. Enjoy your privacy, as he steps back under the roar of his kitchen fan. The second most private table is the "Sunset Table," a cozy corner spot with a view of the sunset.

Each Thursday through Monday, from 5 to 6pm, The Depot hosts Small Bites Happy Hour. Create your own dinner – one bite at a time. Share some spicy coconut prawns or enjoy a bracing platter of freshly shucked oysters. The Chef's special of the day often includes other aphrodisiacs, such as caviar and truffles. Wines, microbrews and Cava by the glass are all available for special toasts.

Shelburne Inn
The historic Shelburne Inn Restaurant & Pub as been a Mecca for food lovers since 1896. The late James Beard, who frequented the restaurant for many years, would be proud to see the changes that his friends Laurie Anderson and David Campiche have made.

Lined with rich dark wood, the dining room sparkles with white linen tablecloths, crystal wine glasses and polished silver. Antique furniture and fresh flowers throughout the Inn offer an air of old world European elegance balanced with the cozy feel of a Northwest cabin. Add colored light streaming through the Inn's signature antique stained glass windows, a warm fireplace, overstuffed leather chairs in the lounge, a cozy pub, treasured artwork, and you have a space that is intimate, romantic and comfortable all at once. Live music featured on the Inn's grand piano often graces the dining room.

Chef Sebastian Carosi, a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon, also apprenticed in Sardinia, Italy. He brings with him over 25 years in the "Farm 2 Fork" philosophy of cooking. His intimate connection with his ingredients shines in his dishes. This spring, look for "crispy buttermilk-soaked grass-fed lamb cutlet with wilted pea vines, local oysters on the half shell with shaved vodka Bloody Mary ice, and bacon fat caramelized Chinook salmon with toasted Washington grown wheat salad.

After dinner, tuck into your own room at the Inn, and rise to a delicious Shelburne breakfast.

The colorful fishing Port of Ilwaco frames the view from every table at Pelicano Restaurant. While the local fishing fleet braves the elements outside, inside Pelicano it is cozy and intimate, with subtle lighting and warm butter-colored walls. Local artwork, fresh flowers and candlelight add sparkle to the sleek dining room.

"Our menu emphasizes seafood," says Chef Jeff McMahon, who owns Pelicano with his wife Shelly Hedges. "We strive to offer the local seasonal catch," he adds. "Usually half of our starters and entrees come from the sea." Seafood is not the only star at Pelicano; dishes shine with touches of Mediterranean, Spanish, Italian and French cuisine, with seasonal menus changing monthly. Chef McMahon brings over twenty years of culinary experience with a resume that includes working for some of the finest restaurants in New York, Los Angeles London and Portland. The couple worked for many years at the Peninsula's Moby Dick Hotel Restaurant, where McMahon developed his love for oysters.

McMahon's pan-fried oysters with creamed spinach and Pancetta are the ultimate Willapa Bay oyster dish. Other seasonal menu items have featured grilled quail with a saute of corn, red onions and Poblano peppers, and Sockeye salmon filet with fava beans, bacon and buttermilk mashed potatoes.

In addition to an extensive wine list, with offerings from the Northwest and the Old World, Pelicano features a variety of classic cocktails and their own creations, including a "Cocktail of the Month," such as the Irish Kiss, and fresh Pineapple Margarita.
The Intimacy Factor