We spent our first night in the great Pacific Northwest in the small town of Poulsbo (pronounced PAULS-bo), Washington (see map) on the Kitsap peninsula (thanx to Tom Miller for straightening me out on that one). Poulsbo is known as the Norwegian capital of the Northwest as Norwegian settlers found the area to be similar to the fjords of their native country.
The downtown area is sort of quaint with a lot of Scandinavian architecture throughout. There's not much to the town in terms of fine dining, but the one place that our hosts from Shunyata Research took us to was a small restaurant called the MorMor Bistro (see map).
Our hosts - Shunyata owner Caelin Gabriel, along with his significant other, Nina; Matt Reilly and his wife, Gina; and Mino Chrisante and his wife, Lucia - welcomed us to the restaurant. We were warned beforehand by Mino that the MorMor Bistro wasn't probably the kind of haute cuisine guys like us were accustomed to. We assured him that we'd play along nicely and to have no worries.
The MorMor is a quaint little place. You walk in the door and there's a small bar area up front. On the walls of the restaurant are a number of collages of newspaper articles tracing the history of Poulsbo. One of the more interesting ones had to do with the rise and fall of a local grocery store over the years.
The husband and wife team of John and Laura Nesby run MorMor. John is the chef, while Laura is the business manager. The menu is very health and organic oriented. The MorMor offers lots of fresh seafood and a number of exotic nightly specials. The menu changes daily based upon the availablity of fresh ingredients. And the vegetables and salads are all organic.
I sat at one end of a big table with Mino and his wife. Both were very interesting people. Mino is a semi-professional musician who plays small bars with a partner on the weekends. Lucia is a stay at home mother who was somewhat bohemian in her nature. They both were very fun people to talk with.
The menu that evening was very interesting. Interesting enough that I kept a copy. They had some tough choices - a monkfish with cajun seasonings; a lamb Shepard's pie with winter vegetables; and a lobster stuffed ravioli in a white wine butter sauce.
We started out with a series of appetizers including MorMor's assorted organic artisan meat platter with assorted cheeses; lightly fried Dungeness crabs; and a warm spinach, Parmesan and cream cheese dip. They were very welcome as we looked over the menu for our main course.
I ended up going with the pan seared wild Sea Scallops on truffle whipped organic potatoes with grilled asparagus and a white wine sauce. One of my colleagues across from me got the Alaskan Halibut "fish and chips" with garlic and parmesan homemade organic fries. Mino and his wife both got the Alaskan Sockeye Salmon cooked on a cedar plank. And one of my other colleagues got the Midwest aged top sirloin with whipped organic potatoes.
We got a couple three bottles of a local Washington state red wine. It was very good. Wish I would have gotten the wine list, but since I didn't make the choice I didn't see what they had to offer.
When our dinners were served, the presentation was very nice. Portions weren't too big, but they were enough.
But it went downhill from there.
My scallops were over-cooked. They were hard and rubbery. Mino and his wife's salmon were "OK, but not the best." The steak one of my colleagues had was "not very good. Over-cooked and chewy."
However, the fish and chips my colleague across from me had were reportedly "excellent. Some of the best I've ever had." He said he really liked the fries and offered me a couple to try. They were good. I'm not big on fried fish, but he said the herbed batter they used on the fish was very good.
The MorMor Bistro is not that big of a place and I'm guessing that trying to deal out 15 meals all at the same time caused some of the meals to get overcooked. Nonetheless, Mino was right - it wasn't all that great. But compared to the other food fare in Poulsbo, it was the best they have.