Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Bite at the Murano

1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, Washington 98402
(253) 572-3200
(888) 862-3255
I have heard good things about the Hotel Murano, so I decided to take my daughter Mariel, visiting from Los Angeles, and longtime family friend Tate Edwards from Honolulu, who is here apprenticing in my kitchen at Pacific Grill for the summer, to Lunch there.

The Murano is chic and beautiful—reminded me a little bit of the sexy stylishness of the W Hotel chain, with it’s impressive modern art, and chic votive candles in the lobby.

Their restaurant BITE is located on the 3rd floor. It is a nice modern space, the staff very polite and attentive.

The waitress described the “fries and gravy” as a good starter [served with a mushroom zinfandel gravy & gorgonzola cheese]. We passed, but it did sound interesting in a messy comfort food sort-of-way.

I went for the “limoncello cured salmonon sesame flatbread, chive crème fraîche, and red onion gremolata. It looked beautiful as the plate was set before me. I didn’t taste any sesame in my flatbread crackers, and the crème fraîche was a little sparse for my tastes. But the dish was good if not spectacular. The fish was a little too sweet which may have been the fault of the Italian Limoncello liqueur, since there is no citrus juice in it but rather it is made from the rinds.

Also, the gremolata that was piled on top was made from orange zest instead of lemon, which also lent another hint of sweetness. [I should have ordered a lemon wedge to squeeze over the dish, it would have benefitted from the additional acid].

Mariel had the “green market” salad with roasted beets, haricots verts, onion, cauliflower, butternut squash, scallions, walnuts, and ricotta salata, with a sherry-shallot vinaigrette. She complained about how under-cooked the vegetables were, and after I tasted it I had to agree—all the vegetables were hard and raw tasting.

She pointed out that the haricots verts were unappealingly thick—almost as if they were blue lake beans. A lot of damage has resulted from the idea to undercook vegetables al dente. I tell my cooks to cook the vegetables so that they are tender to the tooth—not mushy—but that they should not snap when bitten and certainly not taste raw.

The other vegetables were also underdone, and the butternut squash—stained with the dark red juice from the beets—looked and tasted like an unripe nectarine.

She had ordered the salad with additional chicken, which she fished out and ate, but did not finish the salad.

Tate ordered the “classic reubenwith corned beef, sauerkraut and swiss griddled on seeded rye, but the sandwich came out on marbled rye bread instead. The sandwich was served on an impressive-looking mountain of “herb fries”. But the fries tasted like they had cinnamon on them. When we asked, the waitress said no , only basil & parsley, garlic, salt & pepper. We all swore there was a mysterious sweet cinnamon flavor to them. We wondered if something was fried earlier in the oil that imparted that flavor? Anyway the fries had that crunchy coating [potato starch] that so many fast-food type chain places put on their fries now to retain crispness and heat.
Tate said the sandwich meat was a little dry. But other than that he enjoyed his meal [although his starter salad he didn’t finish as the balsamic dressing he said was much too sweet].

I have heard great things about the breakfast served at BITE, and I recommended it to a friend today who had out-of-town company. When I inquired about Brunch I was told they only serve breakfast, but the waitress brought me a Breakfast menu to peruse—indeed she gave me all their menus to keep.

She was very polite, and helpful.

Altogether our bill came to about $60 [including tip] for the 3 main courses, one starter salad, and one glass of Pinot Grigio—the rest of us had tap water.

Although our meal was a little uneven, I am going to go back to try their breakfast, recommended to me by picky foodies but-knows-their-stuff clients of mine.

I love this urban-chic new place on Tacoma’s dining scene. I hope the food improves a notch or two to match the stylish surroundings.


kevinfreitas said...

We had the fries and gravy (very tasty) and breakfast there during our recent staycation at the Murano. Bite is a great spot that I need to remember to head back to from time to time. Thanks for being that reminder!

Anonymous said...

sounds like an awful lot of money for not a very good meal. I'm glad the place looks nice, but tasty food is my priority.

ChefGordonNaccarato said...

Thanks for your feedback Kevin. I do want to try those tasty sounding fries...

Anonymous said...


Wandering off topic, but I was wondering if you would entertain a question. There are two food items that I would like to try to put into my life, but I am at a loss as to what to buy and how to perpare.

Brussel Sprouts and whole Artichokes.

My issue with artichokes is I don't like the idea of taking a leaf and dunking it in butter or mayo which is they way most people eat them. I don't see why that would be good, you would only taste the dip not the veggie. I also don't understand the idea of scraping a little bit of leaf meat on my teeth either. What am I missing here? When do I buy and what is a good way to perpare.

As for bussell sprouts, I have only had them cooked by my mother as a kid and they were nasty/mushy. I have several friends that love them and they say they smother them with butter. Again I don't understand the drenching of a veggie. What is a good way to perpare and again when is the best time to buy, what do I look for when buying them?

Thanks Chef!

Dr. J said...

Gordon, great blog! I enjoyed your writing on the Ed's Diner blog, it's great to have honest opinions from an 'insider'. As regards the fries and gravy, is the poutine the new comfort food trend? I had a version at Quinn's Pub in Seattle, the skillet street food people talk about it, and Smith Pub also. Not that there's anything wrong with it, of course! Still, poutine is poutine, and when I go to Vancouver, the frites places all have it, and it's great!