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Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.

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March 26, 2008 9:15 AM

Flash in the Pan Pacific: Marazul

Posted by Nancy Leson

Marazul, the Asian-Latin fusion restaurant adjacent the Pan Pacific Hotel is a goner, having (quietly) served its last supper last week. I should have figured the place was in its death throes when I saw the 15-percent-off posters tacked all over the Seattle Times newsroom recently. Those colorful Carribean-colored come-ons read: "Take a 60 minute vacation at Marazul" and offered a discount off breakfast, lunch or dinner (What, no happy hour?). All we had to do to get dollars-off was walk down Denny Street to the restaurant and show our Seattle Times security badges (See, who needs AAA?).

Anyway, I dropped by the restaurant at lunchtime yesterday. A note on the entryway door said something to the effect of "no more dinners, lunch only, for catering call blah, blah, blah." I went in. It was a ghost town and a young server was able to give me little info regarding what's gone down. She acknowledged that the place was no longer Marazul, and mentioned that I could still eat lunch in there -- somewhere. Then she handed me a pared-down "all day dining menu" that says the goods are available in "The Bar" (though I failed to ask which bar: Marazul's Rhum bar? The one adjacent the hotel lobby?). That menu touted expensive "snacks," "soups," "salads," "sandwiches" and "mains" -- with everything from a prawn cocktail ($12.95) to to a flat iron steak with broccoli and mashed potatoes ($25.95) to a chive and cheddar omelet ($12.50).

Well, I guess the hotel guests and local office wonks who were expected to mob the place decided they'd do better ordering Neapolitan pizza and salads next door at Tutta Bella. Or maybe everyone was just going downstairs to Whole Foods to pick out a nice piece of line-caught salmon, belly up to the counter near the meat and seafood department and have the grill-man cook them up some fresh fish right on the spot.

So, am I surprised that Marazul bit the dust? Nope. It was high on my mental "ghoul pool"-list from the get-go, as I intimated in my review . I am going to miss chef Bruce Dillon's Latin Bento Box with its churrasco steak salad and salmon ceviche(anybody know what Dillon's up to now? Bruce? Bruce?). But I can always grab the tin of whole green cardamom stashed at home in my spice cabinet and take a whiff, remembering the cardamom-scented curry potato leek bisque I so enjoyed there. That spice jar was a nice bit of PR swag, sent as part of the grand opening press-kit trumpeting the restaurant's February 2007 debut.

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Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.

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