TNT Diner

Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Archives: May 2006


Polishing the Lobster

Tacoma restaurateur Denny Driscoll called to say, “If you’ve been in recently and noticed it looks a little tired, you’re right.” He was speaking of The Lobster Shop South on Ruston Way.

Actually, I haven’t been in The Lobster Shop (either location) since last summer, when the Dash Point restaurant earned three stars.

But I’m happy to hear the Ruston restaurant will get a face-lift at the end of June. Last I looked, a few of its customers could have used some work, too.


Naked chef, meet unclothed critic

Most of my work is done under cover. I go into restaurants. I order. I eat. I pay. I leave. I repeat the process a couple of times. Sometimes I wear my Sunday best. Other times, I could model homeless fashions.

I don’t tell restaurants in advance that they may be reviewed. I eat first and ask questions later, by telephoning or e-mailing chefs and owners.

Even though my wife has blurted out my name and co-workers have introduced me to their friends in the middle of restaurants — by both my first and last names, thank

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Another kind of Alfred’s attaboy

The sign board at Browns Point, where Alfred’s Cafe owner Richard Bartolatz lives, read:

“Congratulations, R. Bartolatz and Alfred’s.”

I’d heard Alfred’s was for sale. I called Bartolatz to see if that was the good news. Turns out it wasn’t. In fact, the Dome-area restaurant with a bordello past almost sold recently, but financing fell through.

So what’s with the public congrats? A million-dollar lawsuit by a former business partner that Bartolatz called an extortion attempt has gone away, with only lawyers’ fees involved.

Alfred’s — the business, not the building that houses the warren

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Disgusting human tricks

The garrulous customer at the brand-new Mediterranean grill in Federal Way this evening wanted to know his server’s name. Then he introduced himself and his brother.

Maybe that’s why he showed no compunction about making the server eat from his spoon and why he grabbed the spoon back and continued to use it.

This stuff’s good. You should try it. What’s a little lentil soup and germs between friends?

But that doesn’t explain what the guy did next. In fact, I wrote down the license plate number on his Chevy truck just so I

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Banh mi

I found a good banh mi in Olympia, at Little Da Nang restaurant, 301 W. 4th Ave.

Chicken, pork or veggie sandwiches are $2.99, take-out only.

The wait for a made-to-order sandwich took a bit long. But the payoff was pleasing: roasted pork inside a soft baguette with mayo, cucumbers, carrots, cilantro and lettuce. I asked for jalapenos but they got left out in the translation.


The Colonel’s happy bowls

KFC’s got me bowled over with its new combo: mashed potatoes, corn, popcorn fried chicken and gravy all in one bowl.

Like rice bowls, they make perfect sense.

I don’t understand the three-cheese blend on top (why must everything be served with over-processed cheese these days?), but the Colonel’s new happy bowl was good enough to eat with a spork.

I haven’t enjoyed processed food in this kind of combination since I ate my last Swanson’s TV dinner as a kid, when I shoveled succotash over the aluminum plate partition to be mixed in and

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Uncle Thurm’s got a brand-new joint

If you want soul-stirring soul food in Tacoma’s Lincoln neighborhood, you no longer have to call Lincoln Lanes and ask for “the kitchen.” Now you can just call 253-475-1881 and ask, “Is this Uncle Thurm’s?”

Thurmond Brokenbrough, who cooked up ribs, chittlins and grits at The Rail Splitter, opened Uncle Thurm’s Soul Food three weeks ago. His new joint is at 3709 S. G St., a block north of 38th Street.

Here’s what I wrote about Uncle Thurm’s cooking last year:

“…Soul Food Medley shines in deliciously living color: smoky pork ribs that could anchor

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