April 13, 2009
During a Saturday overnight stay in the Tulalip Suite at Tulalip Resort Casino in Marysville, Washington, we dined with Seattle public relations maven Lorne Richmond, and his lovely wife Elizabeth (Liz). We met promptly at 6:30 in the resort’s spacious lobby and went on a brief tour of some of Tulalip’s many ameneties such as a glittery nightclub lounge, spa, and 1,200-slot casino.
We began our meal at Blackfish, a seafood-centric restaurant that specializes in cooking wild salmon in the traditional Indian manner–over ironwood sticks.
Here we enjoyed some tasty crabcakes served over vegetable-filled corncakes. The smoked salmon appetizer was also a winner. Both paired well with a well-balanced Aligote chosen by Tulalip sommelier Tom Thompson.
After appetizers, we headed next door to Tulalip Bay, the resort’s top-shelf restaurant. We were most impressed by the private dining room (where Tulalip elders meet to discuss tribal business) and were the first press people ever to tour the wine cellar.
Here Tom opened a killer Sonoma Valley Pinot and several red wines. The temperature-controlled, state-of-the-art cellar is centered by a granite table for intimate tastings. There are 4,000 bottles. Of the 500 selections, 35% are come from Washington. Sommelier Tom and Chef Dean Shinagawa (formerly of the Roy’s branch in Seattle) orchestrate monthly food-and-wine pairings by region and host winemaker dinners throughout the year.
Every Friday and Saturday night, Tom offers a flight of wines (four 3-ounce pours) from some of the state’s most sought-after boutique wineries such as Leonetti, Quilceda Creek, Betz Family Winery, Tamarack, and DeLille Cellars.
During dinner we enjoyed ordering a variety of dishes off Chef Dean’s five-course tasting menu as well as the à la carte menu. Here’s my entrée from the tasting menu, a colorful, beautifully plated, and well-prepared Oven-Roasted Steelhead Salmon with Wild Rice Quinoa Cake, Pear-Pepper Relish, and Huckleberry Gastrique.