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Mise en Place: Dining with Tampa's finest

  • By Mark Gordon
  • | 12:25 p.m. September 30, 2011
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
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Restaurant: Mise en Place
Address: 442 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa
Phone: 813-254-5373
Recommended by: Jane Toombs, CEO Council of Tampa Bay. Toombs, the executive director of the organization, holds lunch meetings and the occasional cocktail event in the evening at the restaurant.
Reservations: Not required, but highly recommended.

Parking: Street parking located along the south side of the restaurant. Good neighborhood, but driving in the area can be confusing if you are from out of town.

One-hour lunch test: Service was swift and impeccable. The servers, who strive to make their individual section stand out, know the customers by name — and by drink; a glass of iced tea appeared for Toombs five minutes before she arrived. Specials were recited with encyclopedic knowledge within minutes of our full party's arrival. The orders were taken five minutes after that and the food reached the table in 15 minutes.

Privacy: The music in the dining room is quiet, so conversation is effortless but can be overheard by the keen eavesdropper. There are large windows on two sides of the restaurant and the tables are rather close in the dining room. However, Mise en Place is not a restaurant for shy folks — public figures, including former Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, sit in the “power section” by the windows and comfortably converse with their party. For meetings that are not privy to the public eye, the Minaret Room is available.

Ambiance: With all the glamour of a four-star New York eatery, the ceiling is adorned with chandeliers, the walls support antique mirrors and servers stand ready to attend throughout the meal — unless they are topping off your drink. Light pours in through the large windows and fills the restaurant with a warm glow matched by the demeanor of its patrons.

Food: The server asked how Toombs' preferred the preparation of her meal, showcasing the restaurant's detail-oriented approach. She says Mise en Place is the only restaurant in the Tampa area that serves the Cobb salad with duck confit. The menu is so diverse that it is daunting to read while trying to hold a conversation. But, the impressive selection of tastes makes the spot ideal for meeting with new clients. The Nate-tini, served by “Bartender of the Year” winner Nathan DeWitt is the favorite drink of the clientele, says Toombs. At $56 for four, lunch was surprisingly affordable.

Ownership: Maryann Ferenc and Marty Blitz have owned the establishment for 25 years. Blitz also serves as the head chef. See “The Home Team,” Business Review, Aug. 6, 2009, for more on on Ferenc's other accomplishments.

Review date: August, 2011


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