Get ready for Marrow. The fine dining restaurant with a focus on unusual proteins and craft cocktails is aiming for a July opening on Sixth Avenue.
Here’s reason to be interested – it’s backed by Jaime Kay and Jason Jones, co-owners of Top of Tacoma, and Kyle Wnuk, chef at the recently opened Dirty Oscar’s Annex on Sixth Avenue (I am wowed by his top-notch burgers, but more on that in a moment).
Marrow will occupy the space recently vacated by Beyond the Bridge Café. The short-lived café was one of a gaggle of coffee houses on Sixth. The addition of Marrow brings two things Sixth Avenue and Tacoma need: fine vegetarian dining and a restaurant that emphasizes oft-overlooked proteins in a restaurant setting. Duck, goat and ostrich, anyone?
I spoke with Jaime Kay Jones by phone yesterday and here’s how she described Marrow, “Our Marrow menu will focus on less commonly encountered proteins; duck, goat, wild boar, ostrich/emu, meat that can be sourced locally and things people don’t get to try all the time.” The seasonally-focused menu will change four times a year. As for ingredients, said Jones, “It will be based on local, sustainable and seasonal.”
Marrow will give diners a restaurant within a restaurant – the vegetarian focused “Arrow” (that’s Marrow, without the “M” for Meat. Get it?) menu will offer an entirely veg-friendly eating experience. Said Jones, “Our vegetarian entrees aren’t going to be an after thought, we’ll cater to the vegetarian crowd by giving them nutritious and creative gourmet items.”
Here’s a sample Arrow menu item: Green lentils with mint and shallots, champagne creme fraiche, pumpkin seed oil and topped with fried squash blossoms. Arrow will join Quickie Too and Caffe Dei in catering to local vegetarians, but with a fine-dining edge that long has been needed in the South Sound culinary landscape.
Expect to find a menu of craft cocktails with emphasis on fresh herbs and Northwest distilled spirits (such as Dry Fly).
Jones and Wnuk will offer a range of price points and plate sizes. “We’ll be offering a lot of small plate options, especially with wild proteins that people haven’t tried. They may not want to commit their whole meal to (something they’re not sure about).” Expect to see small-plate prices beginning at $6. Entrees will top out at $25.
The restaurant will be open for dinner only, at least to start. “We’re going to evolve to meet the demand,” said Jones. Tentative hours are set at 4 p.m.- 2 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday. The restaurant will be for diners ages 21 and older only. There will be seating for about 50.
And here’s a little more about Wnuk, the chef at Dirty Oscar’s Annex. The newcomer Sixth Avenue restaurant (in the location where Sax formerly operated) serves highly impressive burgers, the creation of Wnuk. I visited Dirty Oscar’s Annex anonymously and was floored by the quality of the burgers for a modest price point of $10. Beyond a selection of a half dozen burgers, the rest of the menu is gastro pub fare at lowbrow bar prices – braised elk shoulder sliders ($8), air-cured beef bresaola ($6) and beer battered asparagus ($6) with a balsamic reduction and lemon aioli.
If you have not yet tried the Dirty Burger ($10), you should fix that. Served on a pretzel bun (it’s pliable and soft, not hard like a pretzel, don’t worry), the half-pound Angus patty dripped with burger juice and was topped with chewy, thick smoked bacon, Tillamook cheddar, grilled onions and a tomato jam with a sweet and tart bite to counter all that fat (not that I was complaining).
Fries on the side came with plenty of surface area, and were fresh-cut and crisply fried. If the Dirty Burger had been around during my bar burger series, I would have ranked it in my top five.
Dirty Oscar’s Annex
Where: 2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Where: 2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma
Opening: July 2011