From left, Kelly Barnes and her husband, C. Whitney Barnes, of Skaneateles, chat with Moro's Table owner and chef Ed Moro during a July 6 preview opening of the restaurant in Auburn. Also pictured, third from left, is Bob Wojnar, national sales manager for Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars. 0714.sj.Moros.st Sam Tenney / The Citizen

AUBURN — Edward and Beth Moro want to bring a bit of California to downtown Auburn.

Edward describes their new 1 E. Genesee St. restaurant, Moro’s Table, as a contemporary twist on a French bistro. The West Coast influence will be felt in the form of a laissez faire atmosphere. Don’t want to wear a suit and tie? Stick to a shirt and khakis. Not up to buying a full entre? Order an appetizer portion.

Moro’s Table diners are encouraged to relax and relieve themselves of any haughty notions inspired by the bistro description. The dining room decor, dominated by whites and silvers and capped by a classic zinc bar, is bold but undaunting. Customers should also feel at ease with the menu. As chef, Edward doesn’t want to steer the orders in any one direction.

“A lot of chefs get too caught up in what they want,” he said. “I want people to get what they like — not just what I recommend.”

The entrees, which come in small and large plate sizes, span lamb, duck, chicken, salmon, steak and more. Moro’s Table will also feature sushi, a relative novelty for downtown Auburn dining. The Moros hadn’t planned to serve the Japanese delicacy when they plotted their restaurant for its original Skaneateles location, due to the proximity of another sushi restaurant nearby. When they shuffled their Table into the Market Street area, sushi became a potential drawing card.

Delays in plumbing and electrical repairs at the Moros’ Skaneateles site — the former Morris’ Grill — prompted them to look elsewhere to launch their restaurant. In May, they learned that Dawn and Marc Schulz, owners of the former eatery at the 1 E. Genesee St. space, Bistro One, were looking to exit. The Moros were quick to relocate. Though they remain committed to starting a restaurant at the Skaneateles site, they are equally set on staying in Auburn.

“We’re here to stay,” Edward said. “I think Auburn’s a great location — four or five different points from other places converge here.”

Edward brings to his kitchen five years of apprenticeship — first in pastries, then in cooking — under a Swiss chef at Hotel Hershey in Pennsylvania. Encouraged by his teacher to continue learning, Edward joined the staff of high-end establishments like Little Nell in Aspen and Brix and Pinot Blanc in Napa Valley, Calif., before taking the executive chef position at Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles. He worked as director of food and beverage at the Hotel Clarence in Seneca Falls prior to beginning plans for Moro’s Table.

Despite his experience at four- and five-star eateries, Edward doesn’t want diners at his restaurant feeling obligated to treat it like a big deal. Moro’s is an open-ended table.

“People can feel comfortable for every occasion,” Edward said. “I’d like us to be on point, and our guests to be relaxed.”

Staff writer David Wilcox can be reached at 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at drwilcox.

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