Posts tagged ‘Tabla’

Tabla Mediterranean Bistro

My best friend and I ended up at Tabla last night for his birthday based on M’s suggestion.  M didn’t say anything about the restaurant really, other than to suggest it when I said Sel Gris was unavailable.

They offer a 3 course tasting menu which lets you pick an appetizer, pasta, and entree dish, or you may choose al a carte.  We both chose to do the tasting menu.  I also opted to order the set of wine pairings to go with mine.

My appetizer: beet and buckwheat salad with ricotta di capra, succulent greens, tarragon

Rounds of cooked and slightly sweetened beets were then layered with thin, similarly sized buckwheat crepes and then topped with leaves from a succulent and ribbon like curls of cheese.  The succulent I wasn’t actually able to identify, not being the world’s most plant savvy person.  The salad was slightly sweet (beets), slightly earthy (buckwheat), a little milky (cheese), and brightly green in flavor (succulent leaves).  The textures also bridged a variety of categories.  The beets still had a nice solidity, the tiny crepes were  tender, the cheese was creamy, and the greens….  The succulent was the most intriguing and surprising thing about this dish, both in appearance, flavor, and mouth feel.  They were firm and crisp, slightly furry, and your entire mouth exploded with juicy green flavor when you bit into one.

It was paired with a glass of 2008 domaine rochette, gamay rosé, beaujolais, france.  The wine was a rosy pink in color.  It smelled of strawberry and lemon and added apples flavors when you sipped it, having light sweetness.

Z’s appetizer: delicata squash flan with brussels sprouts, maple brown butter, crispy prosciutto, walnuts

A small flan shaped delicata custard perched atop a bed of thinly shaved brussel sprouts done up with brown butter and walnuts.  A crispy long piece of prosciutto was decoratively place on top.

My pasta: mushroom and sherry agnolotti with pickled chanterelles, sorrel, parmigiano-reggiano

This dish was the prize of the evening.  Everything was delicious, but this pairing was so perfectly matched I would have eaten it all night.  Agnolotti are tiny little pocket like pasta that are a bit like ravioli and a bit like flattened tortellini.  They were about the size of the first joint of my little finger and oh so delicate.  I believe that they were filled with something similar to what was served mixed in with them, pickled chanterelles and strips of sorrel.  I have never had a pickled mushrooms before, but now may have to look into how to do that.  It added this light flavor which would have been hard to identify if you hadn’t been told.

It was paired with a pinot noir, and I had selected to have a glass of their wine special of the evening instead of the usual pairing.  I believe what I had was the 2007 Evesham Wood, Le Puits Sec, Eola-Amity, though it is possible I am wrong.  It is the only thing present on their online wine menu that sounds like the description I got verbally and I didn’t end up calling back last week to check.  I think that this might have been the best wine pairing I have had, definitely the best one in a really long time.  The pinot noir was lovely, very fruity nose, with plum and raspberry scents, with cherry and currant flavors once you tasted it.  It was lightly sweet and had a mild level of tannins, but enough to give the wine body.  And it tasted ten times better when you took a sip right after a bite of the agnolotti.  I am pretty sure that it had something to do with the pickled mushroom flavor, though I am afraid I can’t put my finger on just what.

Z’s pasta: tajarin – thin housemade pasta, truffle butter, grana padano

This was also very lovely.  The pasta texture was walking that lovely zone between tender and al dente, the truffle butter added some lovely deeper notes to the flavor of the sauce, and the grana padano was a creamier tasting version of Parmigiano Reggiano.

My entree: pan-seared sea scallops, fall vegetable scafata, celery root, salsa verde

Once upon a time I disliked scallops, but I had never had them done right.  They have in recent years become a favorite if I am going for seafood.  Tabla knows how to do them right.  They were seared the right brief amount of time the salsa verde on top was lovely with them.  The scafata and celery root I believe were both served pureed (though I am behind on posting and it has been a few days now) and I wasn’t quite as keen on the flavors there, though it was certainly unusual.  I think that perhaps the scafata was just slightly more earthy than I wanted it to be along side the scallops.

This was paired with an unoaked chardonnay, 2007 domaine de montlaville, mâcon-villages, france.  It went nicely with the scallops.  It had hints of grapefruit, pear, apple, and lemon on the nose and added some peach and apricot flavors upon tasting.  This was Z’s favorite of the three wines.  He isn’t much of a wine person, so it was nice to discover one that he liked.

Z’s entree: the special on offer, a of rack of goat, to which I am afraid I have forgotten the sides

His description of this dish stuck out in my mind.  He mentioned that he really loved the unadorned flavor of the goat.  The way the dish was prepared, the goat was resting on an artistic presentation of the accompaniment, and the sauce was to the side, which allowed him to use sparing amounts according to taste.  Apparently goat is often served with strong sauces or marinades which obscure some of its natural flavor (or this is what I gathered from him, still haven’t been truly tempted yet to find out myself).

We glanced at the dessert menu, but were both quite full.  So instead we opted to head home for cheese cake and raspberry coulis, as it was already in my fridge and the travel gave us some time to digest.

November 9, 2009 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

Food Focus and Braised Fennel

The trouble with having a food blog is that you are always thinking about food.  I think about food a fair bit – cooking, eating, what I will make when people come over, what is that smell coming from the stove in the lab….

However, I have found that since starting this blog I spend even more time thinking about food.  I am just about always pondering some edible thing in the back of my head and I devote far more time to active thought about food.  I am almost always up for eating something and something always sounds good, even if I just ate a lot.

I have been going crazy for fennel the last few weeks, since my introduction to it at the Farmer’s Market in October.  I just ran into a post over at Jungle Frog Cooking which talks about braised fennel with parmesan.  I can’t wait to try it.  She doesn’t post the recipe, but refers to the cookbook she got it from, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan.  I figure that since I know how to braise, I can fake it just fine.  The cookbook has been added to a growing list of cookbooks of interest.

I would say, “Unfortunately, I can’t make it tonight,” but the reason is that I am taking my friend out for his birthday to a new restaurant, so I can’t really say the reason is unfortunate.  Since Sel Gris is unavailable we are heading over to Tabla, based on a recommendation from M.

I may have to make M let me give up our Chinese cooking plans for tomorrow in favor of something that will go with braised fennel, or subject him to it on Thursday before we go to our friend’s gallery show opening.  The trouble is, I don’t think we will have much time on Thursday, and somehow in my head there is braised fennel paired with scallops and perhaps a creamy mushroom risotto.  Not something that fits into half an hour.  Luckily, I have two small and two large fennel currently, which gives me something to play with and something more substantial to use when I have more time.

November 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm 2 comments