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“A wonderful destination almost too far”
Review of Xinh's Clam & Oyster House - CLOSED

Xinh's Clam & Oyster House
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Seafood
Dining options: Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Reviewed August 22, 2014

The stars aligned to justify the longest trip to a dining destination I've ever made! I'd eaten only once before at Xinh's and that was occasioned thanks to having business in the Shelton area about five years ago. This time, it was an opportunity to tour the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island yesterday afternoon, and then to drive another 75 minutes to Shelton. Quite a distance total from Mill Creek including a ferry ride!

Fresh fresh fresh seafood made for tasty entrees and appetizers! Friends and I were there to celebrate one friend's 70th birthday. He chose the cioppino loaded with shellfish and squid, all brewed together with wonderful seasonings, and heaped atop a bit of pasta. Friend loves seafood and proclaimed the dish to be the best cioppino he has ever had. It was the cioppino which I'd had five years ago on my first visit.

This time, I chose prawns in tamarind sauce. Such a beautifully colorful dish with thin but slightly crunchy slices of celery, red and yellow peppers and carrot and perhaps a dozen medium large shrimp. I'd never had a tamarind sauce but have had tamarind in some commercial meat sauces and moles requiring the sweet and sour taste. So good with the shrimp! Other friend had a Manila clam and hoisin sauce dish which he very much enjoyed.

I shared the Thai crab cakes (two large cakes) accompanied by small cups of sweet pepper and hoisin sauces. After first bites around, we placed another order to share. I could be content with an order of two plates of crab cakes along with the dinner salad and call it good, along with the tasty bread which greets diners.

A Pinot Gris proved a good choice for the three orders last night.

Although tummies said "enough!" we ordered desserts. With the barest of crust, the apple pie ala mode turned out to be a small mountain of cinnamon-flavored apples covered by toasted pecans. Oh, to have that again and again.

At the moment, Zinh's is open only Thursday through Saturday rather than Tuesday through Saturday. The place was mobbed last night through two seatings from our arrival at 5:45 pm to 7:30 pm departure, with people lining up for the next seating. Reservations are strongly advised during Xinh's summer vacation of sorts. Judging by several overheard conversations, our party was not the only one to have traveled some distance. I asked our server and she said most last night were from the Shelton-Olympia area, with people at the door and opening of 5 pm. Xinh herself visited all tables, and to us apologized for the slow service. We hadn't noticed "slow service" but she said that last night the kitchen struggled a bit and thus an apparent delay between when orders were taken and delivered.

No complaints from our table!

My friends were truly shocked at the menu prices. The final tab easily could be a third or half less than in Seattle. Entrees would definitely have cost more and with less seafood to enjoy! The Taylor Seafood Company which is apparently an owner in the business is itself well-served by Xinh and its own product contributions!

It was agreed that it would be well worth the long drive from Mill Creek to Shelton via I-5 and US 101 in the future. Distance not a good reason to deprive ourselves until the next trip to Xinh's!

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2  Thank mtscruff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (117)
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52 - 56 of 117 reviews

Reviewed August 1, 2014

Xinh's is temporarily open only Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. The food is better than ever and the service has improved so much over the years that we have been going here! This place could be moved to downtown Seattle and would soon be labeled the best in the city. Try the egg roll appetizer followed by whatever seafood you love. You will not be disappointed!

Thank larrchar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2014

Xinh herself was cooking tonight and I was lucky enough to be invited into the kitchen to give her my compliments on her cooking. Visiting from the East Coast was my excuse for not visiting the restaurant for two years. If you are a sushi lover, I suggest you ask for an off the menu order of geoduck (giant clam) with soy sauce, ginger and wasabi. You will be in heaven with freshest, sweetest seafood appetizer you've ever had. The second choice is any oyster dish followed by any of her curries. Atmosphere is homey and the staff is enthusiastic. Wine list is a bargain. The neighborhood is not impressive but Xinh's provides a worthwhile reason to visit Shelton.

Thank Paul C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 17, 2014

One advantage of living in Puget Sound is that you get to know seafood and shellfish -- what's fresh, what's good, what's well prepared. Add a discriminating palate and high standards in the chef, and the result could be something like Xinh's. Set in an unassuming storefront in downtown Shelton, Xinh's provides excellent Vietnamese-influenced cooking at reasonable prices. I had the spicy seafood soup -- a tasty and aromatic, but not particularly hot, assemblage of clams, prawns, mussels, calamari and catfish, cooked to a moist tenderness with a good variety of vegetables and cellophane noodles; my companion had curried oysters. Prices were reasonable; service was good; the room pleasant and decorated with memorabilia of Madame Xinh's rise from oyster shucker to restaurateur. They are only open for dinner, so arrange your South Sound travels accordingly.

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1  Thank Nina R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 6, 2014

I know that's saying a lot. But I've eaten a lot of seafood, and I live in an area where seafood-especially clams, oysters, shrimp, etc, come to the table so fresh that they're (almost) still kicking (if clams had legs). We KNOW what fresh shellfish tastes like.

When you go to Xinh's, you find that Madame Xinh knows how to cook shellfish correctly. She's taught her staff how to, as well. Her standards are VERY high and it shows. Her story of how a Vietnamese girl came to the States and ended up with her own five star restaurant, is interesting all on it's own.

We started off our dinner with an appetizer of pan fried geoduck.

Pronounced "goo-ey duck", this giant clam looks......well, I won't say what it looks like, but it sure is a big, ugly clam that you wonder, who ever thought it was edible. Well, it IS, and Xinh's panfries it perfectly. Clams, despite what you may believe, don't take much cooking, and can easily be over done. Xinh's does it perfectly.

My husband had the curried tiger prawns. Fear not, it's not hot, but the curry flavor goes perfectly with the prawns. There are hotter dishes if you choose, but why torch the lovely flavor of fresh prawns?

I had the special, halibut. Oh my gosh. Topped with a creamy garlic/tomato sauce, it was perfectly cooked and so fresh you forgot you were eating fish. Accompanied by a mixture of stir fried green beans and carrots, it was delicious.

Both dishes were accompanied by a bowl of perfectly steamed rice.

It's telling that at this high level of cooking, some restaurants would serve your food in tiny portions. Not at Xinh's. Portions were ample, so much so that had my husband not volunteered to finish my halibut, I would have had to take it home in a box.

Xinh's prices are very reasonable.

I've eaten at some pretty high priced places and not had such an outstanding and memorable meal.
Shelton is a relic of the timber days, when tree cutting was what one did for a living. It's amazing that a restaurant of the high quality of Xinh's, one that could easily fit into any Paris/New York/London locale, is found here.

If you're ever in the Olympia, WA area, don't miss the short drive to Shelton to eat at Xinh's.
If you're in Seattle, it is worth the drive to eat at Xinh's. It really is. You won't regret it.

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2  Thank SeattleMeadowlark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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