Mitchell's Signature Restaurant in Miranova Shows Imagination

The seared ahi tuna at M gives you a portal into Brian Hinshaw's creative world.

The filets are skillfully seared and placed on an ivory mound of creamy cauliflower, encircled by a veal reduction ($26). The plate is furnished with more goodies: fresh baby artichoke hearts, golden raisins and capers -- a delicious contrast of sweet and brine. The earth and sea are beautifully represented here, a testament to the skill of Hinshaw, the executive chef. He uses organic ingredients when possible, and adds a creative touch to many plates.

M is Cameron Mitchell's signature restaurant inside Miranova, the high-rise condo complex downtown. It's visually entertaining, with lots of contemporary fixtures. Ceiling-to-floor swags give the dining room a breezy openness. An illuminated wall behind the towering bar has a synchronized presentation with the lights in the dining room; you go from pink to magenta in a click. One wall is distinguished by picture windows, allowing for an engaging view of downtown at night.

Despite its upscale assurances, M does not come across as imposing or stuffy. Credit the friendly servers, who have an acute knowledge of the menu and wine list, for putting you at ease.

For the roasted tomato soup ($7), a crostini pasted with a dab of goat cheese is set in the center of the bowl, which is then flooded with a tomato stock that has a harmonious blend of herbs and restrained acidity. Spinach salad ($8) has evenly distributed ingredients -- hazelnuts, bacon and goat cheese -- all washed in a toothsome vinaigrette.

The steak-in-a-bowl entree is an interesting concept that is on the cusp of something special ($34). The bowl is replete with roasted fingerling potato coins and blue cheese that nicely melts into a sumptuous truffle veal stock. 

Roasted chicken ($21) is rustic and juicy, served in the down-home tradition with mashed potatoes and an aromatic stock littered with carrots, mushrooms and onions.

Broiled Chilean sea bass ($27), moist and flaky, is paired with excellent shrimp dumplings. Both rest in an aromatic broth influenced by soy, sesame and lemongrass, while freshwater chestnuts and mushrooms usher in some textural balance. We also enjoyed the scallops starter -- a trio of nicely seared scallops nestled in a small mound of truffle mashed potatoes given a drizzle of roasted garlic jus ($14).

Double-cut lamb chops ($31) and the 14-ounce New York strip ($32) both are part of an extended menu of chops. Both are steakhouse quality, cooked to the appropriate temperature and bounding with natural flavor. The touch of rosemary demiglace for dipping is all you need.  

For dessert, we settled on the homemade ice cream ($7). 

The wine list is very well-rounded, and we enjoyed the 2001 Clos du Mont-Olivet Chateauneuf du Pape ($40). Once it opens up, it tantalizes with its light spices and supple fruit flavor, while just enough acidity holds everything in check. If you're looking for a white wine with enticing minerals and upfront melon and green apple notes, try the 2001 William Fevre Chablis ($36).