Line & Lure hooks you with loaded buffet
As I sat in my booth at Line & Lure, I overheard my server, Denise Cheard, talk to the couple behind me. She asked if they wanted dessert and the man declined. Cheard responded, “No dessert? You’ve got to pace yourself, man.” He replied, “I went in too hard and fast.”
Fortunately for me, I had time to consider how to tackle the new Sunday seafood buffet at Line & Lure. My Grandpa Harry, a buffet champ, is no longer with us to guide me, so I consulted the internet. My favorite piece offering buffet advice was on Wiki-how (it included drawings). Overall, what I learned from the internet was: wear loose clothing, don’t wear any pants with buttons, drink water the day before to stretch your stomach, don’t show up starving, eat the expensive items on the buffet first, don’t fill up on carbs and soda, survey the entire buffet before loading your plate, and eat slowly.
Equipped with this knowledge, and dressed in comfortable and loose but professional clothing, I drove to Ridgefield to gorge myself on seafood.
Line & Lure can be found in the back left corner of the casino, where they began offering a seafood buffet a few weeks ago on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Executive chef Ryan Ziegler, a Vancouver native, has lived in the Pacific Northwest his entire life and enjoys working with the natural bounty of its surrounding waters. His method is to source the freshest seafood and not cover it with too many sauces. He told me his goal is to, “make you feel like you’re visiting the Oregon Coast.”
Chef Ziegler walked me through the buffet. There are four sections: section one has cold items such as salads, a cheese plate, and a platter of housemade gravlax and smoked salmon; section two is a seafood section featuring oysters on the half shell, crab legs (snow crab and Dungeness); section three is a meat carving/omelet and crepe station with a slow-cooked steamship round of beef and made to order omelets and crepes; section four has rows of chafing dishes filled with traditional brunch items (bacon, sausage, biscuits with gravy) and some surprises (seafood paella, shrimp and grits).
There is also a full bar that serves brunch-friendly Bloody Marys (topped with a mini-buffet of garnishes including a bacon wrapped prawn), mimosas, French 75s. Hey, it’s Sunday and you’re in a casino. Why not drink? If you have the Bloody Mary, sip slowly, the bartender is very generous with the vodka and you don’t want to maim yourself cracking crab legs.
Talking about crab legs, all the utensils you need are neatly placed on your table along with a little metal container for shells which is replaced as it fills up. I skipped the salads, cheese, and desserts. I tried almost everything else on the buffet. The smoked salmon is good; the gravlax is remarkable — it is rich, velvety and smoky. I recommend spending most of your time at the fresh seafood area by the window. It is filled with large juicy Sunset Beach oysters, Dungeness crab legs, snow crab legs, and a citrus-y herb-y bay shrimp and scallop ceviche. Grab a bit of the melted butter by the poached prawns, fill your plate, and crack shells to your heart’s delight.
Save some of your appetite for a few of the treasures you will find under the chafing dishes at the end of the buffet. The seafood paella is bright with saffron and filled with tender bits of seafood. The shrimp and grits features plump, tender shrimp swimming in cheese-y grits.
Line & Lure’s Seafood Buffet is only offered on Sundays. But, the restaurant is considering expanding it to Saturdays and holidays. Reservations are recommended but not required.