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Jul 24, 2012 02:14 PM

Mise en Place - Tampa

After two recent vists in too long, the food, service and artistry still remains TOP of the food chain in Tampa. First recent meal we sat at requested window table facing south as it was a Saturday night and wished for a quiet, conversational meal - and it was. 'Get Blitzed' tasting menu with excellent pairings served by a trio of educated staff. Highlights: tempura oysters - possibly the lightest, tastiest fried thing I've ever eaten; tuna carpaccio with truffle; risotto with Maine lobster; perfectly prepared filet.

Wednesday's dinner was a planned small plates affair for three of us - tuna carpaccio again (great), cornmeal oysters - slightly heavier and served with a rich aioli and tomatoes; charcuterie plate - all great, highlight was the foie served in a tiny mason jar that didn't really need the currant jam on top but wow still; lobster poutine - better this time than last - yes it's slightly heavy, but a small plate; arugula and beet salad. Several others were good but not highlight worthy. Wonderful kicker was Chef Marty signing the menu for our special guest! The atmosphere is really laid back cool, in contrast to the linen and Riedel glassware.

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  1. I'm glad you had a good experience. I was underwhelmed by the food--some things were very good, others were poorly executed--but it's one of the few places you can go in Tampa for top-notch ambience and service without a three-ring circus (Bern's, I'm looking at you).

    1. Just wanted to add a more recent review to this thread. Had lunch at Mise en Place last week, and on the whole, was disappointed.

      The good: The meats were all prepared to perfection. Scallops were perfectly seared and tender as butter, cuttlefish was beautifully soft, the steak was perfectly medium rare, the duck was tender with a gorgeous crackle to the skin. The wine list was great, and we had a lovely Rhone served in those elegant glasses. The service was friendly and efficient.

      The bad: Despite the meats being perfectly prepared, the the steak, cuttlefish, and the scallops were insanely over-seasoned, to the point that we couldn't finish them. Everything was oversalted, particularly the sauces, and the spice rub on the beef was overwhelming. Even the salad that accompanied it was like a spice bomb. It seems the chef's attitude is that if a little is good, heaps more must be better. Everything simply had too many ingredients. The duck was the only dish that showed some restraint and let the personality of the meat shine through.

      I'm not sure if this was an off-day, and perhaps no one in the kitchen was tasting what they prepared. Or maybe this reflects the Tampa palate. But it seems a shame not to let these beautifully prepared meats to stand more on their own. Even the desserts seemed overly-flavored with too many spices and fruit combinations going on. No subtlety at all.

      We were planning to go back and try dinner, but now I'm not sure we will. I last had dinner at Mise more than 15 years ago, so I wasn't expecting the same experience, but this was disappointing. The room is also very dated-looking, and could do with a facelift. The drop ceilings and 80's light fixtures really made the place feel like it was on its way out. Perhaps it looks better at nighttime.