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CI Shenanigans Restaurant Review - 2016

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CI Shenanigans Restaurant Review - 2016 - Tacoma Waterfront
By Don & Peggy Doman

Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.


Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.CI Shenanigans along Tacoma's Ruston Way Restaurant Row offers beautiful views and excellent food. The restaurant sits out on piers over the water and depending upon where you sit inside provides views of Mount Rainier, the Port of Tacoma, Brown's Point, the passage north to Seattle, the Olympics, and Vashon Island. Many organizations gather at the meeting rooms upstairs. Shenanigans is owned by the same company as The Ram, which sits across the parking lot to the east. The Ram is a sports bar and provides excellent soups, burgers, and sandwiches. Shenanigans is more upscale.

The deck of Shenanigans offers even better views than inside, but in November we suggest you stay indoors to enjoy yourself.


Spiderweb at Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.I had received my birthday email a few days before and the night after the Presidential Elections seemed like a good day to relax.

If you fill out an info card or sign up on the MPV page, Shenanigans will send you a notice giving you $20 off for dinner around your birthday. Excellent food, service, AND money off . . . who can turn that down.

We always prefer a table and window. As soon as we sat down and got comfortable, Peg started talking about the interesting Halloween decoration outside the window by a spotlight. It was all silvery in the fog and the light. It was just out of my sight, but after dinner I stepped forward, turned, and looked up at the real thing. Our waiter suggested I could go outside via a close-by door.


Focacia bread from Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.I asked our waiter what his name was twice. Both times it sounded like "Gott." His voice sounded like the voice of God, so I didn't ask for further clarification. He poured balsamic vinegar and olive oil on a plate and delivered some interesting focaccia bread.

Quite often focaccia bread is dried out and un-interesting. This was different. It had sliced onions baked into the top of the moist servings. Normally, I ask for butter in addition to the oil and vinegar, but didn't with this course. The only trouble with being moist was that the bread didn't soak up other liquids. Next time, we'll have to try soup with the focaccia and see how that works.

I might try a sandwich with the focaccia bread also, which I would never normally choose because of over dry versions at other establishments.


Large Scallops from Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.Peg was going to order the Pork Porterhouse, but I suggested the scallops, which she loves. I thought she didn't order them because they costs over ten dollars more. I was trying to be kind and helpful. So much for that.

The "Pan-Seared Georgia Banks Jumbo Scallops" with lemon-thyme beurre blanc, ratatouille had five huge scallops. Two of them made it over to my plate. Although beautiful Peg didn't like the ratatouille. "Too oily." I had some. It was okay, but I preferred what was on my plate . . . so did Peg.

Scallops are to be treasured. When I noticed that there was half a scallop hiding beside two chunks of ratatouille and brought it up to Peg's attention it disappeared forthwith.


Pork Porterhouse - porkchop from Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.I could have done without the broccolini, and did except for one piece, but everything else with my Port Porterhouse met with my appreciation. When I struggled with the dinner knife, Gott brought me a steak knife. At an inch thick, it's tough going cutting into bites.

"Pork Porterhouse" is the new pork belly. It's becoming very popular. I've always loved pork chops, so this doesn't surprise me. It was served with a Washington Granny Smith apple-onion confit, blue cheese apple au gratin, and stone ground mustard demi. It was perfect. There could have been more of the demi. Demi-glace is a rich, deeply flavorful sauce served with meat. The addition of the stone ground mustard gave an excellent tang to the pork.

If we had been at home we would have been arm wrestling over the pork bone. There was still nice pieces of pink pork along the bone. Peg took it home to add to her broth collection . . . yeah . . . right.


Carrot cake from Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.I love carrot cake, but didn't order it. Recipes for carrot cake reach back to 1827. It became popular in Great Britain during World War II, possibly because of canned carrots from the United States. Supposedly a business man hired master bakers to come up with ways to use the canned carrots. Has anyone ever tried baking carrot pie? I would think it would be something like pumpkin pie. Carrot Cake became popular in the U.S. during the 1960s and 1970s. In 2005 the Food Network listed carrot cake as one of the top five fad foods of the 1970s.

I like carrot cake with grated carrot. They soften in cooking. I've always loved the cream cheese frosting. Peg has always hated it, so why did she choose it on Wednesday evening? With coconut and raisins perhaps it was not as sweet as the other offerings. Actually, at first we were going to order the poppy seed cake and share, but they were all out.

Most of the carrot cake came home with us. If Peg doesn't finish it off, I'll cram it into a large glass and add milk (one of my favorite ways to eat cake, but looks rather low-brow at restaurants).


Pumpkin layered cheesecake from Shenanigans Restaurant on Ruston Way in Tacoma - image.I ordered the pumpkin layered cheesecake. I would order this again. Pumpkin works well with many different variations of cheesecake. I guess I just like pumpkin. I like pumpkin spiced coffee. Every time I visit Safeway I walk by their dessert display. If they have a slice of pumpkin pie, I'll buy one or two. Somehow they never make it home.

Shenanigans used to have Dessert Shots (or something like that), which were tall shot glasses filled with different concoctions. They are down to only two now. My favorite was always the key lime pie. Years ago, the dessert shots were priced at a dollar or so, but now they are around three. I liked them because you could sample . . . or order several and pass them back and forth. I wish they would bring them back.


All of the restaurants along Ruston Way have interesting marine views of the Tacoma waterfront and Puget Sound. There are only two restaurants that I would have to have someone twist my arm to dine there. Shenanigans is not one of them. I'm always happy to dine there for both the view and the food.

The views along restaurant row on Ruston Way are phenominal in Tacoma - image.

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