I think Mizuna is one of the coolest restaurants in Spokane. It started out completely vegetarian, which is unheard of around here. After a few years they switched to serving meat dishes, but they still have a very balanced menu. The website states,
Chef, Tom Nichols keeps regulars contintinually coming back for more with his changing seasonal menu focusing on the freshest produce available, utilizing local organic farmers, fresh fish and the highest quality organic and hormone free meats. Care and attention are put into to each and every plate, served with style and finesse. Vegetarian and vegan guests find comfort in knowing that they have many tantalizing options available to them and that their food is always prepared with creativity and care.
Before last night I’d only been to Mizuna for lunch, but I’ve heard good things about their dinner menu from Becca and others (including my friend and former coworker Lacey, who I just found out is an occasional reader *waves*), so when my mom offered to take me out for a belated birthday dinner, it was at the top of my list.
My mom and I arrived around 7:45 and we both started with glasses of Gnarly Head red zinfandel and the hostess brought us a basket of some nice crusty bread and rosemary and garlic-infused olive oil.
Can you believe I only had this one piece, with just the tiniest dip of oil? Normally the bread basket is what kills me. I like me some bread! But I figured that moderation would help me enjoy my meal better (not to mention my several bowls of Puffins in the afternoon…) and so I left the rest of the basket to my mother, who is blessed with a much faster metabolism than I, and natural thinness that apparently skipped a generation.
I was eying a lot of different things on the menu, but I ended up settling on a chicken dish. According to the menu it was pan roasted organic free-range chicken breast with toasted pecan-cornbread stuffing, madeira-wild mushroom herb sauce and roasted butternut squash. Now, I am not shy in saying that I hate mushrooms, but I usually don’t ask for substitions and things at restaurants because it makes me nervous about being a picky eater. However, Mizuna is known for their good service, and so I asked our server for a suggestion about an alternative sauce. I was thinking of something tomatoey, but she suggested espagnole sauce, and since my mom gleefully exclaimed “French gravy!” and it was the first option, I decided to go for it. I’m glad I did; it was delicious.
Here are some better images of my dinner. Notice that the first one is blurry and I’d already started eating, ha. I’m still getting used to this whole food photography thing.
Around this point I also started my second glass of wine, a pinot noir. I don’t remember what brand it was because I just asked our waitress for the cheapest pinot :). Overall, my dinner was delicious! The chicken breast was cooked perfectly. I took the skin off the top and enjoyed it with the sauce a lot. And the stuffing was interesting and tasty. I never, ever eat stuffing at Thanksgiving because I think most people’s recipes are kind of gross and I prefer to get my starch elsewhere, but this portion was very savory, tasted like good-quality cornmeal and mild herbs, and the pecans were a treat. And butternut squash – hard to go wrong. The chunks were just the right size and roasted to perfection. I ate the whole dish except for half of the chicken breast.
But dessert was perhaps the biggest treat of all!
My mom and I split bread pudding with sweet cherries, pistachios, and creme anglaise! Aaaahhhh so decadent and delicious. I was going to try to eat a bit less than half but after one bite, I was done for. I love this type of dessert in the winter. It was perfectly spiced, warm, and rich but light at the same time. YUM!
If you’re in the area, go try Mizuna. I enjoyed the whole dining experience, including our kind and knowledgeable server and the pleasant ambience of the restaurant. It’s just the way I like to eat – high-quality fresh ingredients, rich flavors, interesting combinations, multi-culturally influenced. Normally I’d probably try to scale down my portions and cut back on the wine and dessert, but hey. Birthdays are special, right?