Mac and Cheese Madness: BITE at Hotel Murano

By Ron Swarner on December 12, 2014

The modern art zing of the Hotel Murano's décor makes me dizzy with delight. My eyes are pulled from left to right, up and down, catching equal parts fine art and whimsy. Upbeat chill music reverberates through the lobby, right up to the lobby bar. Their restaurant, BITE, located on the fourth floor, drips with chic ... and delicious, gourmet flavors.

Not surprisingly, BITE's mac and cheese is also an adults-only playground, thanks to the addition of truffles. For the uninitiated, the rare fungus grows symbiotically with the roots of oak and hazelnut trees. With a little luck, a farmer can expose a sapling's roots to black truffle spores and plant it in a truffière (truffle orchard), where it will grow for years before it is ready to start producing truffles. If it works, a good truffle tree will fruit for 40 years or more. It's an expensive ingredient that doesn't make an appearance at most South Sound restaurants.

BITE's mac and cheese is gobsmacked with truffle goodness. (Kudos to the genius who discovered you could drizzle truffle oil on mac and cheese and make a good thing great.) The mix of black truffle shavings and white truffle oil produces a forward truffle aroma - the taste lingers long after walking through the giant glass doors.

Meaty orecchiette pasta is fused together with a mix of melted white cheddar, ricotta and Parmesan. The pasta choice gives the dish even more personality, as well as acts as a reservoir for the creamy, white sauce. Baked crusty on top, the dish has a pleasant mix of textures and the perfect amount of pasta - I left wanting more, but knowing another bite would take me over the edge. It's served in a giant, hot bowl with a decidedly grown-up flair.

This mac and cheese ($14 lunch, $17 dinner) pairs beautifully with a nice glass of white wine, which offers a crispy acidity for the elegant decadence of the dish.

BITE, lunch 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily; dinner 4:30-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, until 10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; Hotel Murano, 1320 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.591.4151

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

LINK: The answer to why this mac and cheese column exists