Third Street Cafe
Earlier this summer, chef Maryna Frederiksen took over the kitchen at Mount Vernon’s Third Street Cafe. The Skagit Co-op off-shoot eatery has flourished under Frederiksen’s leadership and it doesn’t take more than a few bites of any dish to understand why. The locally procured, seasonal menu requires a bit of inspiration and imagination to keep fresh. Frederiksen feeds this inspiration with weekly trips to the farmers market and relies heavily on her training and experience to know flavors and what works well together. Originally from South Africa, Frederiksen has cooked all over the world, including South Africa, Florida, and Seattle.
Third Street Cafe’s menu combines the flavors and techniques of Frederiksen’s experience. Her goal is to “create a memorable menu” which is accomplished by relying on her widespread culinary background. In this way, the cafe stands out from the many other restaurants serving locally procured, organic dishes. It has familiar dishes in different jackets. Frederiksen experiments with different flavor profiles and textures for distinct flavors and mouth feels.
The menu offers a range of dishes from simple to fancier options. Burgers and fried oysters are listed alongside pork belly lollipops and roasted beet salad. Whatever a diner’s choice, it’s sure to be satisfying. Take, for example, the fried green tomatoes, which have a crunchy cornmeal exterior and are served with dollops of ch.vre that balance a sweet tomato jam.
For lunch, try the ham and brie sandwich. Anyone who has ever eaten melted brie with a sweet jam knows the creamy, tangy bite can’t be beat. Fredericksen encapsulated the flavor in the ham and brie sandwich, where salty ham complements the brie and blackberry-fig jam, while a thick layer of arugula tethers your taste buds back to reality. On the side, creamy bites of potato in dill-mayonnaise dressing accompanies the sandwich without demanding attention.
Third Street Cafe tries to remain as local as possible, but there are some ingredients that go beyond the confines of Washington and even the Pacific Northwest. However, you can be sure every component of your dish was made from scratch: From the sauces to the biscuits, it’s a scratch kitchen.
Frederiksen’s mantra is “cooking with consciousness.” She doesn’t allow her cooks to fall into complacency, which can ripple into subpar work, leaving guests disappointed. Something as simple as tasting each dish is paramount for quality control. Frederiksen emphasizes her promise to “Never compromise food.” The food is the experience of any restaurant and her job is providing the best possible experience for guests. Is she a perfectionist? No — just someone who truly believes in a job well done and a dish well made.